DreamWorks delays "Dragon" 3-D film to 2010

Wed Feb 27, 2008 8:05am EST
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By Paul Bond

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Mindful of a crowded schedule for 3-D films late next year, DreamWorks Animation has pushed its offering "How to Train Your Dragon" by four months to March 26, 2010.

The move leaves the studio with just one release, "Monsters vs. Aliens," scheduled for next year, and three for 2010: "Dragon," "Shrek Goes Fourth" on May 21, and "Master Mind," the working title of a film set for November 5 that year.

Had "Dragon" opened November 20, 2009, as previously planned, it would have been sandwiched between 3-D films "A Christmas Carol" with Jim Carrey, and James Cameron's "Avatar."

"Avatar," in particular, presented a problem, as that movie's December 18, 2009, opening would have coincided with "Dragon's" international release, where as much as 65% of DreamWorks Animation's business comes from.

"The combination of a jam-up domestically and the very limited 3-D capacity internationally just didn't make sense," DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg said. "There will not be anywhere near the number of screens needed to accommodate two releases internationally."

A little more than 1,000 screens worldwide can handle 3-D films, but Katzenberg expects from 3,000-5,000 by the time "Monsters vs. Aliens" is released on March 27, 2009.

Katzenberg disclosed the "Dragons" move Tuesday during a conference call with analysts to discuss quarterly earnings that impressed Wall Street and sent shares 6% higher in after-hours trading.

The CEO also hinted that "Bee Movie" might not make its way to HD DVD in two weeks, as had been planned, given Toshiba's decision to basically surrender the high-definition DVD format war to Blu-ray Disc.   Continued...