DreamWorks Animation Goes 3D

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DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc. announced today its intention to produce all of its films in stereoscopic 3D technology starting in 2009. To best take advantage of the technology, the company will now be creating films utilizing stereoscopic 3D from the beginning of its creative process.

“I believe that this is the greatest opportunity for movies and for the theatrical exhibition business that has come along in 30 years,” said Jeffrey Katzenberg, Chief Executive Officer of DreamWorks Animation. “Advancements in sound have dramatically improved the auditory experience, but there hasn’t been a corresponding breakthrough in the way we see movies until now. Stereoscopic 3D technology gives us a real opportunity to significantly enhance the theater experience.”

To date, most films shown in 3D have been created for traditional projection and then rendered into 3D in post-production. In order to take full advantage of the new technology, DreamWorks intends to make films with the stereoscopic 3D concept in mind from the beginning of the production process. The company believes that this approach will increase its storytelling opportunities and create a more immersive movie-viewing experience.

“Historically, 3D has been used primarily as an add-on or a bonus feature,” Katzenberg said. “And while audiences have enjoyed that, they haven’t really seen the true potential of this technology. We’re going to use the latest stereoscopic 3D technology to build our movies from the ground up. We believe that this will create more opportunities for our artists as well as more compelling experience for the audience.”

The growth in the number of theaters capable of projecting 3D films has dramatically risen in the past two years. It is expected by 2009 that there will be several thousand screens equipped for 3D. DreamWorks Animation believes that the rapid deployment of digital cinemas by exhibitors around the world and the latest technology developments will allow the company to take advantage of this new platform. The company has started production on its first film in this format, Monsters vs. Aliens (see Insectosaurus concept art above), intended for release in the summer of 2009.

“I believe CG animation is in the best position to take advantage of the latest advancement in 3D technology,” said Katzenberg. “Since our films are made digitally, it presents numerous opportunities for our filmmakers. And by moving into this area now, DreamWorks Animation is developing expertise that will differentiate our films and provide a lasting competitive advantage.”

The exhibition industry sees a major opportunity from this new format.

“Theater owners are excited by this technology because it not only provides a more special movie-going experience but also a meaningful growth opportunity as research suggests more people come to see 3D movies, and ticket pricing has more flexibility,” said Jim Tharp, President of Distribution for Paramount Pictures, distributor of DreamWorks movies. “The advancements in home entertainment products, especially flat-screen TVs, have made it more important than ever that exhibitors offer a unique and special theatrical experience, 3D does that in a big way and film goers have already seen that this can be a premium experience.”

DreamWorks is assembling a world-class team to drive its stereoscopic 3D vision.

Jason Clark, who most recently was Executive Producer on Monster House 3D and Jim Mainard, who for many years was the head of DreamWorks Animation’s Research and Development, will both be leading the launch of DreamWorks Animation’s stereoscopic 3D efforts.

Phil McNally, Stereographer on Chicken Little & Stereographic Supervisor on Meet the Robinsons, will be the Stereographic Supervisor on DreamWorks Animation’s first stereoscopic 3D movie, Monsters vs. Aliens.

“I’m thrilled to welcome Phil and Jason to the DreamWorks team,” Katzenberg said. “Along with Jim, we will have tremendous leadership for this initiative. By combining their talents and expertise with our resources and commitment, I believe we will be able to tell better stories and create a totally new and special experience for movie goers.”