Today Disney is bringing an old story into a new high-tech dimension: "Disney's A Christmas Carol" is the widest digital 3-D release ever. Of the movie's 3,683 theaters in the US, 2,035 are 3-D, including 181 Imax screens. The movie is also opening this weekend in 18 countries around the world, with many of those screens in 3-D.
The digital 3-D format has a reputation for packing theaters fuller than traditional 2-D showings despite higher ticket prices. The high margins and differentiation from giant home theaters make the long-delayed rollout of 3-D technology good news for both movie studios and theater chains like Regal and Cinemark. The limiting factor for 3-D films so far has been the limited number of screens. This wider 3-D release could give a sense of the potential for the December 18th release of 20th Century Fox's "Avatar", which is the most highly anticipated and hyped 3-D film ever.