Disney to re-release Pixar franchise

The Mouse House is giving Pixar’s “Toy Story” franchise the 3-D treatment.

As part of an aggressive move by the studio to turn more of its toons into 3-D releases, company will convert “Toy Story” into the format and re-release the pic in theaters on Oct. 2, 2009. Its sequel will get the same makeover and bow Feb. 12, 2010.

The re-releases lead up to the opening of the newest adventure for Woody, Buzz Lightyear and their toy pals: “Toy Story 3″ is slated for June 18, 2010. It will also be shown in 3-D; Lee Unkrich (co-director of “Toy Story 2″) is helming.

Studio said John Lasseter, who directed the first two “Toy Story” pics and serves as chief creative officer for Disney and Pixar Animation Studios, will oversee the creative side of the 3-D conversions for “Toy Story” and “Toy Story 2.”

The Mouse has become the latest studio to push the 3-D format, especially with its animated fare, as a way to lure more auds into theaters.

And for good reason. Studio’s seen strong numbers from its releases that have received the 3-D treatment, such as Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” “Chicken Little” and “Meet the Robinsons.” Of the $97.8 million domestic haul for “Robinsons,” for example, $30.4 million came from 3-D runs.

Disney’s upcoming “Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert,” toon “Bolt,” the performance-capture adaptation of “A Christmas Carol,” the stop-motion pic “Frankenweenie” and live-action/performance capture combo “Alice in Wonderland” will also be distribbed in 3-D.

The studios have set their sights on 2009 as the year for auds to embrace 3-D; by then, thousands of theater screens will be capable of showing off the technology.

Across town, DreamWorks will bow “Monsters vs. Aliens” and “How to Train Your Dragon” that year in Imax 3-D and on regular screens in digital 3-D, with “Shrek Goes Fourth” to follow in 2010.

All of DreamWorks’ toons will be produced for the format in the future, Jeffrey Katzenberg has said.

Meanwhile, 20th Century Fox will release James Cameron’s “Avatar” in 3-D next year.

“Beowulf” has been the widest 3-D release to date, with 3-D playdates on hundreds of Imax and regular screens having outgrossed traditional runs throughout several weeks of its release.

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