Free 3D glasses vanishing from Chinese cinemas due to COVID-19, costs
Published: Apr 14, 2021 12:28 AM


Many Chinese people have complained that cinemas are no longer providing free 3D glasses, which affects their intention to watch movies in cinemas. Insiders said it was due to COVID-19 epidemic prevention requirements and also the need to reduce costs during a tough time for cinemas.

A Beijing resident surnamed Yu told the Global Times that when she went to a cinema in Chaoyang district to watch a 3D movie during the Spring Festival holiday, she was told that every audience member needed to use their own glasses or buy a pair of 3D glasses for 10 yuan ($1.53).

“No one told me before I had bought the tickets. If I knew I needed to prepare the glasses by myself, I would not have gone, or I would have watched another film that did not require the glasses,” Yu said.

Many other people have had a similar experience, and they have complained about it on social media, saying it was very inconvenient.

Most cinemas that refuse to provide free glasses have said it is a safer decision amid the pandemic, and said audience members should have their own glasses instead of sharing the same pair with others.

But some questioned this reasoning. “The required components of watching a 3D movie are glasses and a 3D movie picture. Cinemas should not sell glasses and a 3D movie as two commodities,” one netizen commented.

Netizens said that cinemas could disinfect the 3D glasses after each movie to resolve the health issue.

Legal experts also did not support the behavior of cinemas. Wang Yahui, a lawyer based in Beijing, told the movie website that given the fixed site and limited time of films, viewers have no choice but have to buy glasses from the cinema. This situation is very common, and the cinema sells glasses based on this situation, which could be considered forced consumption.

“Not all cinemas in the UK offer free 3D glasses and we may need to buy a pair, but the quality of these glasses is good. One pair can be used all the time,” Li Fu, a graduate student who has stayed in the UK for over five years, told the Global Times.

She said that if Chinese cinemas can improve the quality of glasses so that consumers can use them for a longer time, audiences might be more tolerant.