DreamWorks, 3D drive plan for Disney

'Toy Story 3,' 'Christmas Carol' trailers bow at Cinema Expo

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AMSTERDAM -- Disney may be the most bullish Hollywood major when it comes to 3D, and the Burbank studio put several three-dimensional entries on its film slate front-and-center Wednesday in a Cinema Expo presentation.

Trailers were shown from Robert Zemeckis' motion-capture animated feature "A Christmas Carol," set for November release, and next summer's Pixar sequel "Toy Story 3." But glimpses of Tim Burton's live action-and-motion capture fantasy "Alice in Wonderland" were limited to production stills, while May opener "Prince of Persia" from Jerry Bruckheimer was teased in a sizzle reel, and a early visual-effects shot was used to whet exhibs' appetite for Disney's as-yet-unslotted remake of "Tron."

Disney international distribution president Anthony Marcoly noted that Disney has agreed to distribute pics for Steven Spielberg's newly private DreamWorks, aiming to add to Disney's own recently downsized release slate.

"There will be fewer films, but you can count on them being bigger and better than ever," Marcoly said. "And you can expect four to six DreamWorks films per year, starting in 2010-2011."

After its 75-minute slate promo, Disney screened in its entirety the 3D family feature "Up." The Pixar-animated pic already has produced $255 million in worldwide boxoffice, including $23 million from its fledgling international campaign.

Execs noted the "Up" tallies feature an estimated $36 million in extra coin from exhibs' marking up ticket prices in 3D venues. "Up" is playing in a mix of 2D and 3D venues, due to an insufficient installed base of 3D auditoriums.

Those attending the "Up" screening were asked to wear both 3D glasses and audio headsets, lending an especially high-tech appearance to the audience. Disney used the headsets to offer the film in several language versions, with the special gear needed even for the English track.

Most films screened here are offered only in English.

Meanwhile, various 3D vendors have been seeking a bit of the promo spotlight at Cinema Expo, where the fledgling technology has been a hot topic of discussion.

Masterimage touted its participation in the Disney presentation. On Tuesday, RealD helped Fox screen 3D clips from James Cameron's upcoming "Avatar."

RealD on Wednesday announced a new product for use by theater owners in programming live events as alternative programming for their cinemas. When added onto RealD's 3D projector systems, ReadD Live can receive and convert broadcast signals for theatrical 3D presentation.
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