New dimension at Real D

Deals grow firm's 3-D screen total

Real D said Tuesday that a flurry of recent deals prompted by the release this month of the animated "Meet the Robinsons" in Disney Digital 3-D means there soon could be about 700 screens with Real D's 3-D Cinema technology.

That represents a significant boost in the screen count since November 2005, when the Walt Disney Co.'s "Chicken Little" debuted on about 84 3-D-ready digital-cinema screens in North America.

Real D chairman Michael Lewis said that there were about 240 Real D 3-D systems installed in December.

On Tuesday, Real D announced new agreements with Regal Entertainment Group, AMC Entertainment Inc., Cinemark and other exhibitors to license additional locations with Real D Cinema technology. The deals will bring the installed total to more than 680 screens worldwide — more than 600 of those domestic — for the March 30 release of "Robinsons."

Regal Entertainment Group operates 34 Real D Cinema screens and will add 75, AMC Entertainment is adding 104 to its 13 screens, Cinemark is adding 16 to its 20 screens, and Rave Motion Pictures is adding five screens, Real D said.

Cinemas Lusomundo in Portugal is installing eight screens, and Village Roadshow in Greece expects to build two.

With the recent activity, Real D said the company soon will have installations in nearly every major U.S. city and 13 other countries. Lewis said the number of Real D 3-D installations will exceed 1,000 screens by year's end.

Additional titles announced for 3-D release include Paramount Pictures' "Beowulf," slated for Nov. 16; "Journey 3D," a planned 2008 release; and James Cameron's "Avatar," scheduled for 2009.

Alternative 3-D content in the works include a U2 concert and National Geographic programming, both slated for release this year.