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U2's "U2-3D" Takes Center Stage At Sundance

Friday, 18 Jan 2008 | 6:20 PM ET
U2
U2

A front row ticket at a U2 concert can easily run you hundreds of dollars. But starting tomorrow night, with a movie premiering here at Sundance, you'll be able to get a front row view for the cost of a movie ticket. A ticket to "U2-3D," the first ever digital live action 3D film, shot over months of the band touring in South America.

And this isn't your grandpa's 3D, I can vouch, not only are the glasses sturdy, but they don't give you a head ache, and it feels like you're there.

The Vertigo tour is becoming widely accessible when "U2-3d" hits 55 Imax theaters next weekend, and then another 400 or so high-def 3D theaters soon after that. The brainchild of a production company called 3ality, "U2-3D" will never be shown in 2D--unlike a lot of other movies that are shown in both formats.

Sundance Goes Hi-Tech
The first live-action digital 3-D theatrical release ever is a U2 concert movie premiering Saturday at Sundance Film Festival, reports CNBC's Julia Boorstin.

Digital 3D may very well be the movie theaters best new weapon in the battle to compete with bigger and better home theaters and fancy high def DVD players. Movie theaters love the new format because it can't be pirated, and people can't just wait for the DVD to come out.

Now upgrading theaters in order to be able to play movies in 3D isn't cheap--chains have to upgrade to HD, and then have to get an additional 3D projector and the right screen. But it pays for itself within about 9 months (based on the number of movies that will come out in the next few months).

Theaters charge about $3 more per ticket to cover their costs, and moviegoers don't seem to mind at all. (An analyst I talked to about this, Eric Handler at Lehman Brothers said that ticket costs seem to be totally inelastic).

People here are excited to see the movie--and Bono and the band will be here for the big premiere tomorrow night.

Questions? Comments? MediaMoney@cnbc.com

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  • Working from Los Angeles, Boorstin is CNBC's media and entertainment reporter and editor of CNBC.com's Media Money section.