3-D vision doesn't waver


Jeffrey Katzenberg boldly predicted Monday that there will be nearly 2,500 screens ready for 3-D in time for the March 27 release of DreamWorks Animation's "Monsters vs. Aliens."

At the 3-D Entertainment Summit, DWA's CEO also forecast that there will be 7,500 3-D screens for the summer 2010 release of his company's "Shrek Goes Fourth."

Estimates suggest that the number of 3-D-ready digital-cinema screens now in the domestic market is in the 1,500 range.

But Katzenberg expressed optimism.

"I expect a $5 premium will be paid for the 3-D experience," he said. "Fifty percent of the admissions of 'Bolt' — which was 3-D on only 1,300 of its 4,000 screens — is 3-D. The customers have spoken time and time again. If you offer them a premium-quality experience, they will for the most part trade up."

Commenting on "Monsters," Katzenberg suggested that there will be "more than enough screens to give us our investment back of $15 million. We spent $150 million making a movie like this, with a $15 million incremental cost for 3-D."

Digital-cinema installations are required to offer digital 3-D, so challenges like raising d-cinema deployment financing in today's tough economic climate remain.

"Just at the moment when exhibition and distribution got together, negotiated and finally closed deals for virtual print fees, there's no money," Katzenberg said. (partialdiff)