3-D Vs. 2-D: `Monsters' Scores on Added Dimension

The DreamWorks Animation comedy Monsters vs. Aliens, the latest flick in a growing crop of movies using new digital 3-D technology, pulled in well over half of its $59.3 million opening weekend grosses from 3-D screens. By the time the movie finishes its theatrical run, the 3-D version will account for 70 percent or more of its total domestic revenues, DreamWorks Animation boss Jeffrey Katzenberg said Monday. That's because the 3-D presentation is expected to have a longer shelf life than the 2-D version, so the percentage of the gross from 3-D screenings will continue to climb.

That far exceeds the expectations of DreamWorks, which initially had figured 3-D receipts might account for half of the overall take for the sci-fi adventure whose voice cast includes Reese Witherspoon, Seth Rogen and Kiefer Sutherland.

Audiences have proved willing to shell out the few dollars extra it costs to see a movie in 3-D format instead of the traditional, flat 2-D version. That bodes will for the rush of 3-D offerings on the horizon, including Pixar Animation's Up, James Cameron's sci-fi epic Avatar, and a slate of DreamWorks Animation releases led by 2010's Shrek Goes Fourth, the next installment of the blockbuster ogre franchise.

"For those people that get to see it in 3-D, I think it's going to create a whole new immersive feel to that world," Katzenberg said at ShoWest, an annual convention for theater owners. Shrek Goes Fourth is "well on its way in production. We've seen a good deal of it in 3-D, and it's absolutely mind-blowing."

In exit polls, 38 percent of those who saw Monsters vs. Aliens in 2-D actually had wanted to catch a 3-D screening, but they could not get in because of sold-out theaters, Katzenberg said. While only a handful of films now are being offered in 3-D, demand could grow as audiences continue to get a taste of the sharp, multidimensional images.

"When color came along, Technicolor, in the 1930s, 10 years later, people stopped making movies and going to movies in black and white. Why? Because we see in color," Katzenberg said. "We also see in 3-D. I do think it's more natural for us, so we'll see."

Source: The Associated Press