The future is 3D, declared DreamWorks animation czar Jeffrey Katzenberg on Tuesday before showing the first piece of 3D footage created by DreamWorks--a redo of an entire scene from the upcoming 2D movie Kung Fu Panda in RealD. (Everyone seems to like these cool RealD glasses better than the clunkier Dolby ones.)
The Theatre des Arts crowd at the Paris donned their 3D glasses and dug the intense action sequence. Then Katzenberg previewed a funny scene from the upcoming Monsters vs. Aliens, featuring a confrontation between the president, played by Stephen Colbert, and a just-landed alien. Here's the casting story.
It's all 3D all the time for DreamWorks Animation from now on, Katzenberg declared, exhorting the exhibs to upgrade to digital 3D. 2009 is the big year when some 10 to 12 digital 3D pics will hit screens--and there aren't enough of them yet--about 1000-- to handle a wide 3D release. UPDATE: Disney distribution and marketing chief Mark Zoradi on Wednesday predicts 4 to 5,000 3D screens by 2010. "In the next 24 months we'll reach a tipping point," he said. And exhibs are finally ready to step up and invest now that they see competitors doing better with Beowulf and Hannah Montana in 3D. Here's more on the impact of Hannah Montana on the biz.
Later in the day, Katzenberg showed Kung Fu Panda in all its CG 2D glory. The crowd ate it up. Katzenberg has this family formula down--it'll play for kids, young males, families, the works.
The pic boasts a lovable central character, the tubby panda (Jack Black) who adores kung fu and must channel his inner strength and purpose and listen to his master teacher (Dustin Hoffman) to become a great fighter and save the day. But the five kung fu heroes our young panda worships are not as well-developed as they might have been. No question this pic will score big this summer (June 6).
[Originally appeared on Variety.com]