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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Who's Frustrated Now? Katzenberg.

In the early 2000s, it was director George Lucas who was persistently peeved at how slow theater-owners were to install digital cinema equipment; he wanted more screens to show 'Attack of the Clones' and 'Revenge of the Sith.' ('Phantom Menace' was shown on just four digital screens as a test, in 1999.)

Now, in the latter part of the decade, it's DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg who is frustrated at how slow big multiplex operators have been to install 3-D digital projection gear. From Variety:

    "In the last 30 days, things have not progressed as well as I had hoped, expected and, quite frankly, been committed to, by all the parties involved," Katzenberg said in response to an analyst's question. "It's ongoing as we speak literally now, but in terms of getting the big three (exhibitors: Regal, Cinemark and AMC) on board and actively moving forward, I feel as though things have dragged along, and it's been pretty disappointing."

    Tensions are simmering on both sides of the issue, as the major studios and the top three circuits try to hammer out the size of the "virtual print fee" that studios will pay to distribute their pics digitally, which would be used to defray the costs of digital projector installations.

Katzenberg is hoping there will be 5000 3-D capable screens in the US by next March, when DWA will release 'Monsters vs. Aliens.'

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