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Dreamworks Animation Going 3-D

Posted on Wednesday, March 14th, 2007 5:26 PM and updated on Wednesday, March 14th, 2007 6:33 PM

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Dreamworks Animation has announced that they will be producing all movies in 3-D starting in 2009.

With the growing number of digital-cinema installations, it is now possible to project 3-D features in more theaters. Dreamworks expects that there will be several thousand 3-D capable screens by 2009.

My experience with 3-D has not been something that makes me look forward to entire feature-length movie done in three dimensions. The most recent experience was in Superman Returns: An IMAX 3-D Experience, where the viewer was expected to wear specialized glasses for certain segments of the movie, donning and removing the glasses on cue.

Granted, Superman Returns was not designed from the beginning as a 3-D movie, but I think it will be quite some time before audiences will see 3-D as anything more than a gimmick. Given the amount of attention 3-D is getting from the industry (James Cameron stated last April that he only wants to do 3-D from now on), I might be wrong. Either that, or 3-D will prove to be short-lived as a feature of full-length movies and relegated to specialized use.

Press Release

DreamWorks Animation Goes 3D

3/13/2007 11:02:00 AM

GLENDALE, Calif., March 13 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc. (NYSE: DWA) announced today its intention to produce all of its films in stereoscopic 3D technology starting in 2009. To best take advantage of the technology, the company will now be creating films utilizing stereoscopic 3D from the beginning of its creative process.

"I believe that this is the greatest opportunity for movies and for the theatrical exhibition business that has come along in 30 years," said Jeffrey Katzenberg, Chief Executive Officer of DreamWorks Animation. "Advancements in sound have dramatically improved the auditory experience, but there hasn't been a corresponding breakthrough in the way we see movies until now. Stereoscopic 3D technology gives us a real opportunity to significantly enhance the theater experience."

To date, most films shown in 3D have been created for traditional projection and then rendered into 3D in post-production. In order to take full advantage of the new technology, DreamWorks intends to make films with the stereoscopic 3D concept in mind from the beginning of the production process. The company believes that this approach will increase its storytelling opportunities and create a more immersive movie-viewing experience.

"Historically, 3D has been used primarily as an add-on or a bonus feature," Katzenberg said. "And while audiences have enjoyed that, they haven't really seen the true potential of this technology. We're going to use the latest stereoscopic 3D technology to build our movies from the ground up. We believe that this will create more opportunities for our artists as well as more compelling experience for the audience."

The growth in the number of theaters capable of projecting 3D films has dramatically risen in the past two years. It is expected by 2009 that there will be several thousand screens equipped for 3D. DreamWorks Animation believes that the rapid deployment of digital cinemas by exhibitors around the world and the latest technology developments will allow the company to take advantage of this new platform. The company has started production on its first film in this format, Monsters vs. Aliens (working title), intended for release in the summer of 2009.

"I believe CG animation is in the best position to take advantage of the latest advancement in 3D technology," said Katzenberg. "Since our films are made digitally, it presents numerous opportunities for our filmmakers. And by moving into this area now, DreamWorks Animation is developing expertise that will differentiate our films and provide a lasting competitive advantage."

The exhibition industry sees a major opportunity from this new format.

"Theater owners are excited by this technology because it not only provides a more special movie-going experience but also a meaningful growth opportunity as research suggests more people come to see 3D movies, and ticket pricing has more flexibility," said Jim Tharp, President of Distribution for Paramount Pictures, distributor of DreamWorks movies. "The advancements in home entertainment products, especially flat-screen TVs, have made it more important than ever that exhibitors offer a unique and special theatrical experience, 3D does that in a big way and film goers have already seen that this can be a premium experience."

DreamWorks is assembling a world-class team to drive its stereoscopic 3D vision.

Jason Clark, who most recently was Executive Producer on Monster House 3D and Jim Mainard, who for many years was the head of DreamWorks Animation's Research and Development, will both be leading the launch of DreamWorks Animation's stereoscopic 3D efforts.

Phil McNally, Stereographer on Chicken Little & Stereographic Supervisor on Meet the Robinsons, will be the Stereographic Supervisor on DreamWorks Animation's first stereoscopic 3D movie, Monsters vs. Aliens.

"I'm thrilled to welcome Phil and Jason to the DreamWorks team," Katzenberg said. "Along with Jim, we will have tremendous leadership for this initiative. By combining their talents and expertise with our resources and commitment, I believe we will be able to tell better stories and create a totally new and special experience for movie goers."

Caution Concerning Forward-Looking Statements

This document includes certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The Company's plans, prospects, strategies, proposals and our beliefs and expectations concerning performance of our current and future releases and anticipated talent, directors and storyline for our upcoming films and other projects, constitute forward-looking statements, as does the statement concerning the expected closing date for the offering. These statements are based on current expectations, estimates, forecasts and projections about the industry in which we operate and management's beliefs and assumptions. These statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve risks, uncertainties and assumptions which are difficult to predict. Actual results may vary materially from those expressed or implied by the statements herein due to changes in economic, business, competitive, technological and/or regulatory factors, and other risks and uncertainties affecting the operation of the business of DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc. These risks and uncertainties include: audience acceptance of our films, audience acceptance of and willingness to pay for 3D moviegoing experiences, our ability to incorporate 3D development technology into our development processes, the acquisition of stereoscopic 3D projection equipment by theater owners, our dependence on the success of a limited number of releases each year, the increasing cost of producing and marketing feature films, piracy of motion pictures, the effect of rapid technological change or alternative forms of entertainment and our need to protect our proprietary technology and enhance or develop new technology. For a further list and description of such risks and uncertainties, see the reports filed by us with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including our most recent annual report on Form 10-K and our most recent quarterly reports on Form 10-Q. The Company is under no obligation to, and expressly disclaims any obligation to, update or alter its forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, changes in assumptions or otherwise.

Source: DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc.

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