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    Looking Super in 3-D - USA TODAY 6/27/06

    Superman's 3-D return
    Updated 6/27/2006 11:52 PM ET

    Warner Bros.
    It's a bird, it?'s a plane. .. it's coming right at us! Superman Returns, starring Brandon Routh, has 20 minutes of eye-popping 3-D effects.

    Eye-popping projects coming to a theater near you:

    2-D remastered for IMAX 3-D Superman Returns, opening Wednesday. First live-action Hollywood release in the format with 20 minutes in 3-D.
    The Ant Bully, computer-animated, July 28
    Open Season, computer-animated, Sept. 29
    Happy Feet, computer-animated, Nov. 17
    Surf's Up, computer-animated, 2007

    Filmed in digital 3-D James Cameron's Avatar, sci-fi romance, 2008, and Battle Angel, cyborg adventure, 2009
    Journey 3-D, backgrounds and monsters in 3-D, 2007
    Coraline, stop-motion animation, 2007

    2-D showing in digital
    3-D at select theaters Monster House, performance-capture animation, July 21
    The Nightmare Before Christmas, stop-motion animation re-released in 3-D, Oct. 20
    Meet the Robinsons, computer-animated, 2007
    Beowulf, performance-capture animation, 2007

    By Susan Wloszczyna, USA TODAY

    Not only will a super-sized Man of Steel swoop into IMAX theaters this week as the summer blockbuster Superman Returns opens on 86 of the 266 enormous screens around the world, he'll also spring headlong into the third dimension.
    The comic-book do-gooder's latest cinematic adventure, which officially opens today, has the honor of being the first live-action Hollywood movie to be shown in IMAX 3-D, the next leap in the 21st-century revolutionizing of a process best known for requiring the wearing of funny glasses.
    If any event caused the 3-D push to snowball, it was The Polar Express. The 2004 Warner Bros. holiday fantasy directed by Robert Zemeckis (Back to the Future) that employs performance-capture animation — which uses sensors to duplicate an actor's moves— earned mixed reviews and barely left the station when shown in 2-D.

    But it became a box-office bullet train as the first Hollywood feature to get the IMAX 3-D treatment, pulling in $45 million worldwide in its first run. It's now expected to be a perennial yuletide attraction at the large-screen theaters after a successful return last year.

    "I've watched as people grab at the snow or felt like they are riding a roller coaster on a train track," says Greg Foster, president and chairman of filmed entertainment at IMAX, whose first serious stab at Hollywood dollars beyond animated features was a digitally spiffed-up re-release of Apollo 13 in 2002 (domestic gross so far: $1.8 million). "You won't notice the audience grabbing at images at non-IMAX 3-D films. We offer the highest level of immersiveness."

    Immersion is one thing. But do they give away souvenir glasses that look like those worn by a nerdy little bird, like Disney did?
    The studio, whose dominance in the feature-cartoon field has diminished in the face of heavy competition, took notice of the enthusiastic reception given Polar Express and quickly hatched the idea to release its 2005 computer-animated Chicken Little in both 3-D and 2-D. Instead of IMAX, they showed the 3-D version at regular theaters enhanced with digital projection.

    That required some initiative, since barely any theaters were 3-D ready. The studio's smartest move was to share costs and partner with 81 theaters to install a digital system by Real D that requires only one projector. As a result, the 3-D Chicken Little clucked up $7.4 million domestically, which meant 10% of its gross came from less than 2% of the theaters showing the film.

    "Only a handful of locations had the right projectors out there when we originally did this. Now the number is heading towards 200 and could soon be 300," says Chuck Viane, head of distribution.

    The next Disney film to go dimensional will be a re-release of The Nightmare Before Christmas, the stop-motion classic from 1993, due Oct. 20. A 3-D version of a brand-new computer-animated time-travel yarn, Meet the Robinsons, will land next March 30.

    "If you play this up as a gimmick, you go nowhere," Viane says of Disney's commitment to 3-D. "It's an enhancement to the experience. The dream is always to give them more than they expect."

  2. #2

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    Re: Looking Super in 3-D - USA TODAY 6/27/06

    "If you play this up as a gimmick, you go nowhere," Viane says of Disney's commitment to 3-D. "It's an enhancement to the experience. The dream is always to give them more than they expect."
    And I hope this stays so that we don't go through the 3-D disasters of 1953 and 1983....

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