Disney docks decisive 3D dates

Mouse House targets spring, mid-summer for releases

Disney has staked out prime B.O. real estate in 2012 for 3D titles “Frankenweenie” and “John Carter of Mars.”

“Frankenweenie,” shot in stop-motion animation from helmer-producer Tim Burton, is set for March 9 in an effort to benefit from increasingly robust spring B.O. business. Burton’s most recent pic, 3D dynamo “Alice in Wonderland,” debuted a week earlier this year and has to date cumed $334.2 million domestically.

“John Carter,” set for June 8, should play well to families and young boys with a mid-summer launch, though Disney may ultimately revise its sked as the Pixar toon “Brave” is skedded to launch the following week on June 15.

“John Carter,” directed by Andrew Stanton in his first live action pic, tells the story of a Civil War officer who is transported to Mars. Willem Dafoe and Mark Strong topline.

Meanwhile, Warner Bros. announced its plans to launch 3D family film “Dolphin Tale” on Sept. 16, 2011, hoping to profit from the expansion of 3D screens.

Pic, which centers on a young boy who discovers an injured dolphin and arouses support from his community to help it, marks the third 3D title for Warner set to unspool during the August-September 2011 period.

This summer, studios have struggled to find enough 3D runs to accommodate an influx of product, led by 3D toons “Shrek Forever After,” “Toy Story 3” and “Despicable Me.” The 3D crunch likely will continue through the end of the year, when 14 new 3D titles enter the market.

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