"Dragon" poised to slay box-office competition

Thu Mar 25, 2010 10:10pm EDT
 
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By Gregg Kilday

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Moviegoers who just took off their 3D glasses after seeing "Alice in Wonderland" will put them back on again this weekend as Paramount unleashes DreamWorks Animation's "How to Train Your Dragon."

At the same time, MGM is hoping that other moviegoers will focus on its time-travel comedy "Hot Tub Time Machine," shifting attention from the embattled studio's financial duress.

Based on a popular children's book, the first in a series by British author Cressida Cowell, "Dragon" recounts the PG adventures of a Viking teen who befriends a young dragon.

Directed by Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders -- the team behind the 2D "Lilo & Stretch" -- the movie makes full use of its 3D vistas as it flies on the backs of airborne dragons high above the Scandinavian fjords.

Back on Earth, "Dragon" already has had to find its footing within the universe of existing digital 3D theaters.

Right now, there are 2,300-2,400 North American locations that can host the new wave of 3D movies; the number is increasing week by week as new sites come online. Some urban locations like New York even have 3D theaters that sit across the street from each other, which means no one film is likely to command all available 3D sites at any one time.

ELBOWING 'ALICE' ASIDE

The flip side of the question is whether there is enough room for two or even three near-simultaneous 3D releases to co-exist successfully.   Continued...