Katzenberg: 3-D rollout is too slow

DreamWorks Animation CEO is 'not very happy'

Jeffrey Katzenberg is "pretty disappointed" with the speed -- or actually, the lack thereof -- with which movie theater operators are rolling out screens with digital and 3-D capacity.

"I am not very happy with how everybody has handled themselves in the last 30 days," the DreamWorks Animation CEO said on a conference call Tuesday afternoon after his company reported better-than-expected first-quarter financials.

Theater owners and studios have wrangled over who should pay to equip screens with digital technology. "Bureaucratic would be the nice way" to describe how talks have proceeded, he said.

Katzenberg has been campaigning to get 5,000-plus screens worldwide 3-D-ready by the time DWA releases its first 3-D feature "Monsters vs. Aliens" in March. But that high-end is "an optimum goal" that won't be reached "if these guys don't get their act togteher in the next 30 days," he said. There are only abut 1,000 3-D-ready digital cinemas screens currently installed in North America.

But it was all good news on the earnings front. DWA reported a first-quarter profit that soared 69% to $26.1 million thanks to solid DVD sales of "Shrek the Third" and the international boxoffice and DVD contributions for "Bee Movie." Revenue rose to $156.6 million from $93.7 million.

Management said it is focused on a key 12-month period that kicks off with the release of "Kung Fu Panda" on June 6 and also includes the theatrical sequel "Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa" in November and Broadway-bound "Shrek the Musical" in December.

DWA shares closed down 1.9% at $25.74 but rose about 5% in after-hours.
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