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Cineworld goes 3-D with Real deal

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LONDON -- U.K. exhibition chain Cineworld Group said Monday that it has signed a deal with Real D for 3-D cinema technology.

The pact will see Cineworld roll out 3-D projection into its digital cinema portfolio to create "the largest 3-D estate in the U.K."

Real D 3-D systems initially will be installed in 30 of Cineworld's 72 existing digital sites. The rollout will coincide with the U.K. release of Robert Zemeckis' "Beowulf" on Nov. 16.

Cineworld plans to add Real D systems to other sites and is in talks with studios on the business terms of digital deployment across its chain.

Cineworld Group CEO Steve Wiener described the deal as "significant," adding that it is a partnership that "will revolutionize the cinema experience for our moviegoers across the country. We could see as many as 100 Real D screens once our digital platform is in place."

Wiener predicted that the impact of 3-D on the film industry might be comparable to the move from black-and-white to color.

DreamWorks Animation already has announced its intention to produce its films in 3-D beginning in 2009, and such filmmakers as Zemeckis, James Cameron and Peter Jackson all have embraced 3-D as the next step.

"This marks an important step in Real D's international expansion," Real D worldwide cinema president Joseph Peixoto said. "Cineworld has the largest digital estate of any cinema operator in the U.K., so it is a natural fit for us."