Extra revenue being pulled in by 3-D movies at the box office can more than make up for the money lost from falling sales of DVDs, according to the CEO of movie studio DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc.
Jeffrey Katzenberg, one of the biggest proponents of the big-screen format, said Wednesday that the 3-D revolution is reversing a decades-long trend that saw Hollywood studios become more reliant on home videos for their revenue and profit than on theatrical releases.
"Suddenly, the theatrical marketplace has turned in the opposite direction," he said in an interview following his appearance at a conference held by the National Association of Broadcasters in Las Vegas.
His company's forecast for its upcoming sequel "Shrek Forever After" follows the pattern.
"Whatever the decline would be for 'Shrek' when it goes to the home video market will be more than offset by the incremental revenue we'll see from 3-D," he said.
But he implored studios to keep up the quality of 3-D movies. He has criticized Warner Bros. for converting "Clash of the Titans" into 3-D after seeing the success of "Avatar" in theaters using what he called a "quick and cheap post-production process."
"Clash" was shot using regular 2-D cameras, while "Avatar" was shot with 3-D cameras and had actors don special suits that allowed their movements and expressions to be recreated in 3-D using computer software. All of DreamWorks' animated movies are also created in 3-D from the start.
Some critics say the conversion process leads to images that aren't immersive, but look like they are on separate flat planes.
"I just want us all to be cautious and to err to the side of delivering more than expected, not the minimum level or less than expected," Katzenberg said. "You can't ask people to pay more without giving them more."
Despite the criticism, "Clash" has gone on to gross $231 million worldwide since its April 2 release. DreamWorks' "How To Train Your Dragon" has grossed $283 million worldwide since its March 26 release.
A representative of Warner Bros. did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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