Deal includes 'Monsters,' 'Panda'

Continuing its embrace of 3-D, DreamWorks Animation has pacted with Imax to release its first three 3-D toons on the giant screen along with the previously announced digital.

“Monsters vs. Aliens” and “How to Train Your Dragon” (both 2009) and 2010’s “Shrek Goes Forth” all will be available in Imax 3-D, along with digital 3-D on regular screens.

It’s the first multifilm 3-D pact for Imax, which has recently been faced with financial difficulties. Assuming the first three pics go well, the giant-screen company may be able to regularly count on two 3-D movies per year from DreamWorks Animation.

DWA topper Jeffrey Katzenberg has aggressively boosted 3-D as a way for his company, and the entire film industry, to enhance the theatrical experience. All of DreamWorks’ toons starting with “Monsters vs. Aliens” will be produced with 3-D in mind from the outset.

Deal also calls for Imax to carry next spring’s DreamWorks toon “Kung Fu Panda,” but not in 3-D.

There isn’t yet a deal for fall 2008 pic “Madagascar 2,” most likely, sources say, because Imax theaters will be showing “Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince” at the same time.

It is expected the DreamWorks toons will be released using Imax’s digital 3-D projection system, which is scheduled to launch in June, 2008.

“3-D cinema has an opportunity to revolutionize the way people experience movies,” Katzenberg said in a statement. “We believe the immersive quality of Imax will provide our audiences with a unique way to experience our films, and we are delighted to include Imax as a key part of our 3-D strategy.”

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