MOVIES: 3-D proves its mettle with "Monsters vs. Aliens"


  The buzzword of the day Monday at ShoWest's opening session? It's more of a buzz number: 3-D.
  But even more impressive numbers surrounded the ginormous box-office clout of the animated "Monsters vs. Aliens," which drummed up a weekend total of $53.3 million at theaters, bolstered by the biggest rollout so far for a 3-D animated movie — about 1,500 screens.
  The monster-sized success of DreamWorks Animation's "Monsters vs. Aliens" sparked lots of talk about 3-D as more than a fad as the 35th annual ShoWest convention and trade show kicked off a four-day run at Paris Las Vegas and Bally's.
  DreamWorks Animation chief Jeffrey Katzenberg (he's the "K" in DreamWorks SKG; Steven Spielberg's the "S," while David Geffen's the "G") showed up Monday to trumpet the big 3-D news. And big it was. Only 28 percent of the screens showing "Monsters vs. Aliens" were showing it in digital 3-D, but they accounted for 56 percent of the movie's box office take.
  That makes sense, since tickets to 3-D movies cost more than tickets for regular 2-D shows. (About 40 percent more, according to Katzenberg.) And, even though it cost more, audiences for the 3-D screenings liked what they saw. DreamWorks Animation exit polls indicated that 86 percent of audiences thought 3-D was "a great entertainment value," according to Katzenberg, while 83 percent said the 3-D experience "made moviegoing more memorable."
  All the more reason for the continuing boom in 3-D production, with 45 features in the planning or production stages, Katzenberg noted — including both animated and live-action fare.
  In short, "3-D is real, it's great and it's here," Katzenberg told ShoWest delegates. All of which means, he assured them, "You don't have to hear me talk about it anymore."
  At least until Katzenberg immediately joined a panel of fellow industry executives to discuss "How to Stay Ahead of the Curve as the Industry Confronts the Future." Which explains why Katzenberg makes jokes about his dogged nature. (Monday's favorite: "What's the difference between Jeffrey Katzenberg and a pit bull? Not a thing." Waaaaay better than the one likening him to a colonoscopy without drugs ... )