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3D tech developer keeps focus on movie theaters

By December 13, 2009Newswires

3D tech developer keeps focus on movie theaters
by Andy Vuong

BOULDER — A nondescript, two-story building on the outskirts of this college town serves as the research-and-development hub for 3-D technology that movie studios bank on to showcase their big-budget films, such as the eagerly awaited "Avatar."

The technology is featured on 3,000 movie screens in 2,000 theaters across the country, including 35 in Colorado, and is being refined for use in television sets by dozens of scientists at RealD in Boulder.

A 3-D TV is on display at the company`s office here, exhibiting eye-popping sports action. Commercial sets could hit stores by the end 2010, say RealD executives.

But at the same time, there are lingering questions about whether the technology can become a staple in theaters, RealD`s bread and butter.

"3-D has come and gone before," said Brandon Gray, president of Box Office Mojo, an online movie publication. "The question is, can it transcend being simply a gimmick?"

As it stands now, Gray said, 3-D is "probably more novelty than it is enduring movie-going experience."

Nonetheless, recent box-office figures indicate it is making a substantial impact on the film industry. 3-D showings accounted for 56 percent of ticket sales for Pixar`s summer hit "Up" during its opening weekend. About a dozen films will be released in 3-D over the next year.

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