Next "Harry Potter" movies coming in 3D

Wed Jan 27, 2010 3:37am EST
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By Carl DiOrio

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Warner Bros. will release the next two "Harry Potter" films in 3D, a move underscoring the post-"Avatar" rush for extra-dimensional box office returns.

Studio executives around town have been scrutinizing film slates for opportunities to expand forays into 3D releasing. Warners has been testing footage from its upcoming "Clash of the Titans" -- converted into 3D by an outside vendor -- and the tests have gone so well that the studio has decided to release not only "Titans" but also the two-part "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" in 3D.

Warners refused to confirm the decisions Tuesday, but an announcement on "Titans" -- a co-production with studio-based producer Legendary Pictures -- is expected by week's end. Official word on the "Potter" pics also is awaited.

Conversion expenses have been coming down, so each film will cost just $5 million to change into 3D. Warners also will absorb an additional $5 million expense per picture to pay for 3D glasses for exhibitors handling the movies.

In a related move, Warners will push back the release of "Titans" one week to April 2. "Deathly Hallows: Part I" is set to unspool November 19, and "Part II" is slotted for July 15, 2011.

The only previous "Potter" pic to dabble in 3D was last year's "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," which included brief footage viewable in 3D in Imax venues. It was unclear whether "Potter" author J.K. Rowling had to OK the move into the third dimension.

As for the impact on box office prospects for the final two "Potter" sequels, consider the more imminent situation with "Titans."

A remake of a 1981 film starring Laurence Olivier, "Titans" previously might have been expected to fetch no more than $200 million domestically, and even that was an aggressive projection. Released in 3D, Warners figures to reap well north of $200 million, with 2007's $211 million domestic grosser "300" considered a beatable benchmark.   Continued...

<p>British actors Rupert Grint (L-R), Emma Watson and Daniel Radcliffe arrive for the world premiere of "Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince" at Leicester Square in London in this July 7, 2009 file photo. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor</p>