DreamWorks joins Imax in 3-D

'Shrek' is first animated feature in this format

DreamWorks and Imax Corp. are partnering to release a 3-D version of the animated film “Shrek” in Imax bigscreen theaters late next year. The venture will mark the first release of an animated feature in the 3-D Imax format.

“Shrek” will have a wide release in standard 2-D and in normal theaters on May 18, and the 3-D animated release will follow in December 2001 — repping an audacious and possibly risky bet that auds will be interested in a 3-D version of a film that’s already played in other theaters.

Bradley Wechsler, co-CEO of Imax, said the company hopes to attract a bigger audience to Imax pics and “to establish Imax as an ancillary release window” that Hollywood will look to on an ongoing basis.

Wechsler said the 3-D version of “Shrek” was a joint venture, with DreamWorks and Imax sharing the costs of reworking the film for 3-D, and adding a special ending.

The partnership on the DreamWorks film also shows how Imax hopes to make animated films a staple of its repertoire. Imax has already announced that it is teaming with DreamWorks, 20th Century Fox and Sony on an anthology picture, “Cyberworld,” which rolls out this October.

“Shrek” is the tale of a cynical ogre whose swamp has been overrun by fairy tale creatures. Lending their voices are Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz, Eddie Murphy, John Lithgow and Linda Hunt. Film is being made by DreamWorks’ computer animation house, Pacific Data Images.

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