Korea’s Stereo Pictures cues ‘Cats’

Is Warner on 3D overdrive?

While the 3D conversion work on “Clash of the Titans” went to an established Hollywood company, Prime Focus, with access to a worldwide network of facilities, a company few in Hollywood are even aware of is already at work on another Warner title.

Stereo Pictures, a Korean company with an American branch led by former Warner execs, is converting “Cats and Dogs 2” to 3D for July release.

Stereo Pictures Korea president Sung Young-seok told Daily Variety that his company is in talks for three additional pictures at Warner and is bidding on a number of 3D films for individual directors, including one for Michael Bay.

Bay’s next project is “Transformers 3,” and there have been discussions among Bay, Paramount and Industrial Light & Magic about going 3D with the pic. The big stumbling block is the extra time required to do production and visual effects in 3D, as the movie’s release date is already set. Having the pic post-converted could alleviate that problem.

Stereo Pictures has ties to Warner through its Los Angeles branch, which counts several former Warner execs among its management: James R. Miller is managing partner, and former Warner Consumer Products topper Dan Romanelli is senior partner. Onetime CFC Entertainment president Phillip Rhee is prexy.

Sung said Stereo Pictures has talked to Fox, MGM and Paramount as well. “They are asking us to do the 3D conversion on library titles. We expect to obtain orders of 19 films this year,” Sung said.

Stereo Pictures has only about 60 employees at the moment, not enough to handle those orders from the U.S.

But two weeks ago, the company signed an agreement with the Korea Film Council (Kofic) to cultivate S3D professionals and develop S3D technology to meet the current needs. They are planning to train 750 3D artists and engineers through the program this year and to recruit all of them into the company.

Set up as a small venture some 20 years ago and reorganized in 2003, company launched its L.A. branch for marketing and development in December 2007.

Disney’s “G-Force” was the first studio feature to rely on conversion for its live-action scenes. That work was primarily done by Thousand Oaks-based In-Three. Sony Imageworks did the stereoscopic visual effects and CG scenes.