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Hollywood's battle of the screens: 'Dragon' breathes into nearly 2,200 3-D locations

HowToTrainYourDragon

In the battle between major studios for 3-D screens, the dragon came in a little behind "Alice," with the "Titans" still looming.

Although exact numbers are still being worked out, people familiar with the situation said that DreamWorks Animation's "How to Train Your Dragon," which is being distributed by Paramount Pictures, will play in about 2,150 theaters in the U.S. and Canada with a 3-D screen this weekend.

Disney had 2,250 theaters for "Alice in Wonderland" when it opened March 5, with "Avatar" still playing in 661.

"Alice" is expected to continue playing in several hundred 3-D theaters this weekend; "Avatar" has virtually finished its 3-D run.

There are a little more than 2,300 theaters in the U.S. capable of projecting 3-D movies, the majority of which have multiple 3-D screens.

Warner Bros. is still booking theaters for its 3-D movie "Clash of the Titans," which opens next week. With theaters still rapidly adding 3-D screens, it remains to be seen how many it will get. However, Paramount has already booked roughly 800 of the slightly more than 1,000 theaters with just one 3-D screen to play "Dragon" for at least a few weeks.

Paramount and DreamWorks also have a longstanding commitment for all 186 domestic large format Imax screens to play "Dragon" in 3-D until "Iron Man 2" opens on May 7.

Paramount and Warner have both engaged in high-pressure tactics to book the limited number of 3-D screens for their two films. Paramount has angered some theater owners with its policy of not providing a 2-D copy of "Dragon" to theaters that decline to play it on a 3-D screen.

--Ben Fritz

Photo: A scene from "How to Train Your Dragon." Credit: DreamWorks Animation.

 
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