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Star Wars Movies Coming to 3D

29 Sep, 2010 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Lucasfilm Ltd. Sept. 29 said it is converting the venerable Star Wars movie franchise to 3D, and will rerelease Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace in theaters in 2012.

Star Wars films are produced and distributed by Fox Filmed Entertainment, which includes 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, through a license agreement with creator/director George Lucas.

The Phantom Menace, starring Liam Neeson, Ewan McGregor and Natalie Portman, was originally released theatrically in 1999 and generated more than $430 million at the domestic box office.

“Getting good results on a stereo conversion is a matter of taking the time and getting it right,” said John Knoll, visual effects supervisor for Industrial Light & Magic. “It takes a critical and artistic eye along with an incredible attention to detail to be successful. It is not something that you can rush if you want to expect good results. For 'Star Wars' we will take our time, applying everything we know both aesthetically and technically to bring audiences a fantastic new 'Star Wars' experience.”

Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO of DreamWorks Animation and long-time 3D advocate, has said Hollywood studios should rerelease the top 50 action box office titles in history on 3D.

Converting the six-film "Star Wars" franchise, in addition to James Cameron’s plans to up-convert Titanic to 3D, should alleviate some concerns about 3D box office, including pricing, and bodes well long-term for the nascent 3D Blu-ray Disc market, according to analyst Ralph Schackart with William Blair & Co. in Chicago.

While no plans for a home video 3D release were announced, Schackart believes it is safe to assume 3D versions of the franchise will be released to 3D Blu-ray after the theatrical rerelease.

“We are hopeful that the rerelease of Lucasfilm’s coveted 'Star Wars' franchise will begin to stymie the speculation about the demise of 3D,” Schackart wrote in a note.

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