'Ice Age' gets 3-D-only date in China

Fox film the fifth to use legal loophole to crack tough market

BEIJING -- "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs" will screen in a 3-D-only version in China in July, Twentieth Century Fox International said Tuesday. The film becomes the fifth to crack the world's fast-growing movie market by exploiting a new loophole in a strict import cap.

A Beijing-based Fox representative said the Hollywood studio would be allowed to share revenue from "Ice Age" tickets sold here with distributor China Film Group Digital Film Development Co., a subsidiary of the state-run China Film Group Corp.

China caps the import of revenue-sharing 2-D films to 20 a year. Last year, to promote an interest in and the development of a local 3-D industry, the State Administration of Radio Film and Television exempted 3-D films from the regular import cap.

Since the switch, four other films--including three from Hollywood--have come to China in the 3-D-only format and shown on more than 200 3-D screens across China.

"Journey To The Center Of The Earth," from Warner Bros last Sept., grossed 68 million yuan ($10 million). "Bolt," from Disney in December, grossed 30 million yuan ($4.4milion). "Monsters vs. Aliens," grossed roughly 32 million yuan ($4.7 million) for DreamWorks Animation. Belgian cartoon "Fly Me To The Moon" is still on Chinese screens after nearly a month.

The Fox rep said "Ice Age" would be the first 3-D-only film released nearly simultaneously with its release in the West. "We're hoping for a July 9 release, one week after the U.S. release," she said.

The next 3-D release is likely to be Pixar's "Up" in August.