"Titanic" prepped to set sail as 3D reissue

Wed Sep 23, 2009 3:07am EDT
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By Carl DiOrio

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Disney's imminent re-release of "Toy Story" and "Toy Story 2" in 3D has many wondering if others will tap their film libraries for extra-dimensional opportunities, but it appears less a matter of if than when.

Executives on lots all around Hollywood acknowledge discussions about possible 3D re-releases. At Lightstorm Entertainment, insiders suggest it will be less than a year before a 3D re-release is announced for a little film called "Titanic."

"We are certainly interested in exploring the opportunity to re-release some of Lightstorm's past films in 3D," Lightstorm partner Jon Landau said. "I don't think it's too far into the future. We're pretty far down the road."

In fact, Lightstorm has done 3D tests on James Cameron's two most successful movies: "Titanic" and "Terminator 2: Judgment Day."

Still, though several Hollywood majors also might tread that path eventually, only select projects are likely until 3D home entertainment takes hold, perhaps five years down the road. Only the most well-known film classics would merit the considerable costs of converting 2D pics, not to mention the marketing expenses of 3D re-releases.

The still-skimpy installed base of 3D movie screens is another consideration, though Landau is heartened by the steady increase in those numbers and is confident a more robust 3D footprint will be in place soon.

Family films are the most obvious candidates for 3D re-releases, as tots often know classic family titles from DVD but haven't seen them on the big screen. CGI-animated family titles top the list, as an average $8 million or so in remastering costs can be halved thanks to inherent technical advantages in the format. But even well-known action films such as those in the "Star Wars" franchise are expected to get 3D re-releases eventually.

"I know we're all watching this to see if there's something there," Universal distribution president Nikki Rocco said. "The uniqueness of 3D definitely brings something different to the table. But right now it's wait and see."   Continued...

<p>US director James Cameron (R) and actor and narrator Bill Baxton (L) wear 3-D glasses during at the 56th International Film Festival in Cannes, May 17, 2003. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard</p>