'Star Wars: Episode I' 3D Gets Theatrical Release Date From Lucasfilm, Fox

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Lucasfilm Ltd. and 20th Century Fox will release the 3D version of Star Wars: Episode I:The Phantom Menace on Feb. 10, 2012.

George Lucas’ Industrial Light & Magic is supervising the 3D conversion, with an eye for both technological considerations and artistic intentions.

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Lucasfilm believes Star Wars is perfectly suited to be seen in 3D. 

The Hollywood Reporter first reported that Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace would be converted to 3D.

Lucas hopes that releasing the film early in the year, outside of summer blockbuster season, will give it an open run at the box office and also set up the opportunity to sell merchandise through the balance of the year. The plan under discussion would make the release of the subsequent films in the series an annual event on the film calendar.

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If the first in the series meets with success, the remaining five films would follow a year apart on comparable dates. However, depending on how the first release performs, the companies could also decide to open the subsequent entries in different spots on the calendar.

When the new special-edition version of the original three Star Wars movies were re-released in 1997, that cycle began with a re-release of Episode IV: A New Hope on Jan. 31, followed by Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back on Feb. 21 and Episode VI: Return of the Jedi on March 14.

Launching the movies during the first quarter of the year would also give Lucas Licensing the opportunity to launch new licensing programs that could run throughout the course of the year.

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