'Hannah Montana' pops in

3-D film of concert tour set for Feb.

Walt Disney's "Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour" will have its final performances in 3-D theaters, marking the next step in the studio's pioneering efforts in the stereoscopic format.

A 3-D film of the upcoming concert tour will have a theatrical release in the U.S. and Canada from Feb. 1-7. The film also will open in several international markets in the spring, including the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, German-speaking Europe, Latin America and other selected Asian and European territories.

The filmed version of the tour will be shot in 3-D at several venues during the upcoming 54-city tour, which begins tonight in St. Louis. The film will be directed by Disney president of physical production Bruce Hendricks and produced by executive vp visual effects and production Art Repola from the concert tour created and directed by Kenny Ortega. Cyrus, the 14-year-old singer-star of Disney Channel's "Hannah Montana," will perform as a solo artist and as her television character, Hannah Montana.

The motion picture will be one of the first live-action 3-D digital releases to be lensed in the stereoscopic format. It also is a high-profile example of the sort of alternative content that theater owners are hoping will make 3-D a growth opportunity.

"This is going to be a first for us, and we think it offers so much to audiences around the world to have this opportunity to see what is truly a special event," Walt Disney Studios chairman Dick Cook told The Hollywood Reporter. "I think as technology continues to improve (live 3-D digital events are) certainly something that would be on the horizon."

This will be the second feature that Disney will release exclusively in digital 3-D. The first, "Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas," proved a success. In 2006, the film played in only 168 theaters but grossed $8.7 million. This year, Disney is planning a rerelease of "Nightmare," which opens Friday on what Disney president of domestic distribution Chuck Viane estimates will be 530-560 screens domestically.

"We think there will be as many as 800 3-D theaters in the U.S. available to us for 'Hannah Montana,' " Viane said. "We believe when we make the official announcement that that may spur additional deployments of 3-D digital sites. And with that there could be another 10 to 20 or 50. I don't know. Obviously in the world of digital, the equipment has to be available."

He added: "The venture could be very exciting for theaters all over the country. In the digital world, this is what I believe will be more than a film. This will be an event."

"Hannah Montana" is seen on Disney Channels all over the world and on DisneyChannel.com via streaming broadband video. In 2007-to-date and for 2006, it was the No. 1 series on basic cable in the U.S. among kids 6-11 and tweens and, across all television, was second only to "American Idol" in those key youth demographics.

In October 2006, the "Hannah Montana" soundtrack became the first TV soundtrack to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and turned Cyrus into a multiplatinum recording artist. Her latest album, "Hannah Montana 2/Meet Miley Cyrus," was released July 24 and scanned more than 325,000 units in its first week to become the top-selling album in the U.S.
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