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3-D theaters rollout will quicken

THE spread of new 3-D movie technology to theaters around the world has been slower than expected, but its prospects remain strong because it offers a better visual experience, DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. Chief Executive Jeffrey Katzenberg said today.

Promoting the new DreamWorks 3-D animated movie "Monsters vs. Aliens," Katzenberg told The Associated Press in an interview that it takes about US$100,000 to upgrade traditional theaters with new digital projectors and 3-D equipment.

"It's harder to get financing right now," he said, referring to the global financial downturn.

Katzenberg said there are about 2,000 3-D capable theaters in the US and another 1,500 outside America, with about 200 in Chinese mainland, several hundred in the United Kingdom and another 100 in France.

He said he expects those numbers to "multiply several times" in the next year or two because the new technology is significantly better than the previous generation of 3-D, saying they compare like "a horse and buggy" and a "Ferrari."

In the meantime, "Monsters vs. Aliens," which opens in the US on Friday, will be released worldwide in both 2-D and 3-D formats, with about 15 to 20 percent of theaters releasing the movie in 3-D.

Katzenberg said the typical DreamWorks animated movie costs about US$150 million to make and a 3-D movie adds another US$15 million to the budget.


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