Hollywood isn't seeing as much green in 3-D re-releases as it had hoped.
Considered an easy new revenue source after the 3-D re-release of Walt Disney Studios' "The Lion King" popped out of the screen and grossed almost $100 million last year, most such follow-ups have landed with a thud in 2012.
Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" and "Finding Nemo" were disappointments, grossing $47.6 million and $40.7 million, respectively, in the United States and Canada. Twentieth Century Fox and Lucasfilm's "Star Wars: The Phantom Menace" took in a similarly unimpressive $43.5 million in February. Fox and Paramount Pictures' "Titanic" grossed a slightly better $57.9 million domestically last spring.
Audiences, it turns out, are selective about which movies they'll see again in 3-D. The genre's few hits were ones that moviegoers, or the children they took with them, hadn't seen in a long time -- or, at all. "Titanic," for instance, grossed almost $150 million in China, where few had seen the original 1997 epic romance.
That makes the stakes high for Wednesday's 3-D re-release of "Monsters, Inc." Disney executives were particularly disappointed by the weak 3-D box-office take for "Nemo," one of Pixar Animation Studios' most beloved and successful pictures. A soft performance by Pixar's "Monsters" probably would make Disney -- and other Hollywood studios -- rethink their strategies.
The cost of converting animated movies, particularly those made with 3-D computer technology, is extremely low compared with a new production. Disney spent only about $3 million adding 3-D effects to 2001's "Monsters, Inc."
Pixar director of 3-D production Josh Hollander said in a September interview with the website Collider that "Monsters" was "a little easier" to convert than "Nemo," because the movie's visuals are less complex. …