George Lucas announced Thursday at ShoWest that he intends to repurpose all of the STAR WARS movies in 3D for digital cinema re-release, with the original movie, A NEW HOPE, to be readied in time for its 30th anniversary in 2007, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The plan is to then reissue one every year through 2012.
Lucas was joined at a symposium on 3D and digital cinema (sponsored by Texas Instruments, which is promoting its 3D DLP projection system) by James Cameron, Robert Zemeckis, Robert Rodriguez, Randal Kleiser and Peter Jackson (via pretaping). They passionately advised the exhibition community to invest in digital projectors, which would allow theaters to show their upcoming movies in 3D.
Cameron is in pre-production on the 3D film BATTLE ANGEL, planned for a 2007 release. He said he would only work in 3D from now on. Zemeckis has two 3D features in production, and Rodriguez is readying The Adventures of Shark Boy & Lava Girl in 3-D for a June 10 release. Jackson (KING KONG) has reportedly installed a 3D master suite in his production offices in New Zealand.
Lucas said the time has come for 3D to become a more mainstream moviegoing experience. He has converted most of STAR WARS: EPISODE II ATTACK OF THE CLONES to 3D courtesy of In-Three in Agoura Hills, California.
"It's really a beautiful system, and one of the reasons I'm promoting it today is I'm extremely anxious to reissue that old group of films I did so long ago in a galaxy far away," Lucas said. "When you see some of this test footage, it's shockingly good and you can see how people would want to go see it. It means we can repurpose a lot of old movies, and at the same time it really gives a whole new dimension to the movies we're making now."
"It's not just the use of digital projection, which we all know is on the horizon," Jackson added. "But that the particular technology can be used to create three-dimensional movies that go far beyond the quality and the spectacle of anything we've ever seen before. Forget the old days of wearing the red and blue glasses and the eyestrain. All of that is behind us now. These new active glasses that you're wearing and seeing 3D with are a breakthrough in technology."
Jackson screened 3D portions from THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy that featured a looming Gollum and battle dust that virtually fell onto the audience.