DreamWorks' Katzenberg betting big on 3-D
By Sue Zeidler
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - DreamWorks Animation SKG Chief Executive Jeffrey Katzenberg is betting on 3-D films to the tune of $30 million a year in the hope of bringing a dramatic bump to flat U.S. movie attendance.
"Clearly I'm putting my money where my mouth is and the company's bet on it," said Katzenberg in an interview at his headquarters a day before making his pitch to movie exhibitors in Las Vegas at the annual ShoWest conference.
DreamWorks' 3-D initiative, using proprietary technology and processes, has been in the works for about 18 months and will make its theatrical debut on March 27, 2009 with "Monsters vs. Aliens."
A studio tour revealed more and better special effects than the handful of stunts in 3-D of decades ago. Also, concert movies in 3-D give a feeling closer to being in a live audience, as fans pop off the screen and the band appears staggered on the stage with more realistic depth.
Katzenberg, who plans to make all future films in 3-D, said that with an incremental cost of about $15 million per film for 3-D, DreamWorks -- which aspires to produce two films a year -- is spending about $30 million a year on 3-D.
Citing the recent success of Walt Disney Co's "Hannah Montana" 3-D concert film, Katzenberg has said he not only anticipates 3-D to bring more people back to theaters, but that people will pay sizable premiums to watch these films.
"There has not been anything that's come along now for the better part of 50 years that has created an opportunity to get more people to go to a movie theater in a meaningful way," he told Reuters.
The new technology could increase the number of people who go to the movies, he said. While U.S. box office revenue was up last year, attendance barely budged. Continued...