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“It’s the RealD”

May 5 2009, Published 5:28 a.m. ET

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What is RealD and why are all these stars wearing silly glasses? If you haven’t heard – or rather, seen – already, Hollywood loves 3D. “Monsters and Aliens,” “Caroline”, “Jonas Bros 3D Concert Experience”, “My Bloody Valentine 3D” are just a few of the new releases and you can expect plenty more. (Over the next three years, about 40 films are scheduled to appear utilizing 3D.)

The company behind the 3D movement is the Real D, the leading inventor and supplier of the visualization technology and it’s not the experience you remember from years ago. Not only has the technology improved tremendously but the glasses are now lightweight and relatively comfortable for a long stretch.

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With the conversion to digital projectors costing about $70,000 per screen, it slowed down early adaptation (currently, only about 2,000 of 40,000 screens in North America are 3-D ready) but with the theatre chain AMC just signing on to convert as many as 1,500 screens, expect more theaters to follow suit.

Will theatre goers pay an extra $3 a ticket though? So far, the gamble seems to paying off, luring the younger audience from their computer games and home theaters.

The real test is expected to be Cameron's long-awaited sci-fi adventure "Avatar," which Fox will release in December. Walt Disney Studios has 17 3-D movies in the pipeline. And DreamWorks Animation SKG is releasing all of its new features in 3-D.

What’s next? Expect to see plenty of theatre goers with their own, custom 3D eyeglasses soon. 

Stars in RealD Gallery

(Photo: RealD)

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