Magazine article Variety

A 'Little' Luck Led to Massive Marketshare

Magazine article Variety

A 'Little' Luck Led to Massive Marketshare

Article excerpt

The digital stereo pioneer has amplified the big screen experience and earned billions for exhibitors By Karen Idelson

When reald was demonstrating its 3D projection system a decade ago, it got a little bit lucky.

Disney, which had long experience with 3D attractions in its theme parks, happened to be trying to re-establish its animation studio with a CG feature, "Chicken Little."

"We were looking for something that would differentiate it from all the other movies in the marketplace," recalls Dick Cook, who was chairman of Walt Disney Studios at the time. "We thought that (RealD 3D) was a great opportunity to do it. And if it could kick off digital 3D around the world, then all the better. And I think it did just that."

Response to "Chicken Little" was tepid, but RealD 3D got hot, becoming the dominant 3D system in North American' theaters. In North America, RealD has 91% market share among 3D theaters, with more than 13,700 screens, and 36% of 3D screens worldwide use the RealD system.

Anthony Marcoly, RealD's president of worldwide cinema for 3D says: "There are some people who will always see a movie in 3D. and some that aren't interested in it. But the majority of moviegoers are in the middle so we have to make it as appealing and interesting for them as we can. That means releasing the right movies in 3D and making it the best experience we can."

Marcoly notes that moviegoers outside the U.S., specifically in China, choose 3D at even higher rates now than in North America. The format is popular in Russia and is all but a standard in China, where a film released without 3D is considered suspect by many moviegoers. That is a boon for RealD; China's fast-multiplying cinemas are an important growth area for the company's bottom line.

In China, 3D has never been a cheesy novelty or a joke. In the U.S., however, bad 3D and bad 3D films have beaten down the format's reputation, and that has led to dips in 3D box office. …

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