May 2009 3-D Film War Averted

And March will get a boost a big movie month.

Josh Friedman reports in the Los Angeles Times that DreamWorks Animation, which has its films distributed by Viacom’s Paramount, is moving the release of "Monsters vs. Aliens" up to March 27, 2009 to give it some time on the limted number of 3-D screens before James Cameron’s "Avatar" is released on May 22 by News Corp’s 20th Centuty Fox.

The films had been on a collision course, with both studios originally aiming to open their biggest-ever 3-D bets on May 22 to capture Memorial Day weekend moviegoers.

DreamWorks recently shifted the computer-animated "Monsters" to May 15, but exhibitors remained concerned that the two films wouldn’t get enough showtimes because there would be only an estimated 2,000-plus theaters equipped for 3-D by that time.

Paramount’s Rob Moore points out that the move will assist in giving cinemas 3-D content over a longer window instead of cannibalizing the medium.

Today’s 3-D technology is light-years beyond the version of the 1950s, when viewers donned green-and-red glasses, and it enables exhibitors to charge premium ticket prices. But first they must shell out $30,000 to $50,000 per screen for equipment such as digital projectors with 3-D capability and special reflective silver screens.

DreamWorks Animation Chief Executive Jeffrey Katzenberg is a vocal champion of the format. The Glendale-based studio plans to produce all its films in 3-D starting with "Monsters."

"Monsters vs. Aliens" and "Avatar" could be the first major films to derive the majority of their box-office revenue from 3-D showings, Moore said.

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About Whit

Whit Honea is a writer/editor/producer living in the L.A. area with his wife and two boys. You can find his writings and other works all over the Internets. Also available on Twitter.
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