Will 'Chicken Little' be the ticket to cure the movie industry's woes? Big things are expected from ''Chicken Little."
The Walt Disney Co. animated movie, which opens nationwide this Friday, will play on standard 35-millimeter film at most megaplexes. But on 84 screens, including three here in the Boston area, audiences will don special glasses and watch the movie in digital 3-D.
It's the first test of whether the on-screen three-dimensional realism made possible by digital projection can bring consumers out to the megaplex in large enough numbers to keep the sky from falling on the movie theater business. Attendance through Oct. 23 this year was down 8.1 percent from a year ago, according to Exhibitor Relations Co.
Movie industry veterans, including big-name directors like George Lucas and James Cameron, say digital 3-D is a technological breakthrough in film realism, likely to become as standard as sound, action, and color.
''I envision a day when we release a picture just in 3-D," said Charles Viane, president of distribution for Disney. ''We're finally bringing to the theater a presentation that the consumer cannot get from a home theater."