Disney: Pixar movies will be released in 3-D

April 8, 2008 5:50:51 PM PDT
The Walt Disney Co. said Tuesday its Pixar animation studio will commit to 3-D by releasing all of its movies in the format beginning with "Up" next year.

Chief Creative Officer John Lasseter made the announcement in New York at a presentation of Disney's upcoming lineup of animated movies.

He said Walt Disney Animation Studios will offer "The Princess and the Frog" in the traditional hand-drawn format for release for Christmas 2009.

Meanwhile, Pixar movies will be released in 3-D and the traditional two-dimensional format, beginning with "Up," about an elderly widower who embarks on a South American adventure, in May 2009.

The lineup from Walt Disney Animation Studios also includes "Rapunzel," a retelling of a fairy tale set for release for Christmas 2010, and "King of the Elves," set for release for Christmas 2012. Those will be released in both 3-D and two-dimensional formats.

Disney also showed a 30-minute clip of "Wall-E," set for release June 27. It tells a love story between the title character, a robot left alone on earth for 700 years, and another robot named Eve sent to look for life.

"Wall-E" is the first Pixar release since last summer's "Ratatouille," which grossed more than $620 million at the worldwide box office.

"Ratatouille" was the last independent Pixar picture in development before Disney's acquisition of Pixar Animation Studios in May 2006 for $7.5 billion in stock.

In a deal announced last month, four studios - Disney, News Corp.'s 20th Century Fox, Viacom Inc.'s Paramount, and Universal Pictures, which is owned by General Electric Co.'s NBC Universal - agreed to help finance and equip 10,000 screens in the U.S. and Canada to accommodate 3-D movies.

The conversion will cost as much as $700 million and take three years.

Box office figures have shown that the enveloping feel of 3-D can attract two to three times more moviegoers who are willing to pay as much as $3 more per ticket, analysts said.

Theaters owners and studios hope the offerings will help bring people back to multiplexes for an experience that cannot be matched by increasingly sophisticated home theater systems.