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Venice looks toward a 3-D future

Event hosts conference on large format films

The 65th Venice Film Festival looked to the future Tuesday with a high-caliber confab on 3-D cinema. Fest topper Marco Mueller has made clear he is eager to launch pics in the format from the Lido.

Venice presentation “The Industry of Digital Cinema: Content That Creates Values” provided proof that Hollywood’s 3-D craze is spreading globally.

With at least 15 3-D titles from the major studios scheduled for next year — including “Monsters vs. Aliens,” “Ice Age 3” and “Avatar” — it’s clear the majors are “driving the momentum, even though there are not enough screens for their releases yet,” said Screen Digest analyst Charlotte Jones.

The number of 3-D outlets in the U.S. and Europe is steadily growing, with 1,500 3-D screens worldwide now available.

There are 7,200 screens equipped for digital cinema worldwide, up from 6,400 at the end of last year, according to Screen Digest.

Other key fresh facts from the Venice Screen Digest presentation:

    North America still accounts for the majority of 3-D screens, but its share has declined to some 68% from about 75% in 2007.

      By the end of 2011, some 9,000 digital screens are expected worldwide, about 6,000 of which will be in the U.S.

        While the North American market has stalled, Europe is seeing steadier growth at the moment.

          In terms of digital development, the U.K. is way out in front with 300 screens, but Germany and France are playing catch-up quickly, with France now at about 200. The Italian market is fifth in Europe with about 50 digital screens.

          In the U.K., some 21% of screens have also added digital capability; in Italy and France, the proportion is more like 15%.

            In Russia almost 80% of the screens have digital capability.

            Venice Biennale prexy Paolo Baratta recently vowed that the fest’s new screening facilities will be a “temple of high tech,” with the Lido totally 3-D ready starting next year.

            Attendees at the Venice confab included Kimberly Maki, topper of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers; Peter Wilson, chief of the European Digital Cinema Forum; and Julian Feldman, exec VP of U.S. 3-D studio In-Three.

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