Now that 3-D has been established as the movie industry's biggest (and possibly only) moneymaker, it was only a matter of time before studios began applying the technology to their backlogs. This Friday, Disney will release a 3-D version of 1994's The Lion King in theaters, just eighteen days before DVD and Blu-Ray versions arrive in stores. The cinema run, which will last for only two weeks, is basically just an extended promo for the new disks, but theater owners don't seem to mind. (Usually, they're pretty aggressive about protecting their right to screen a movie for 120 days before it can sold for home viewings.) As National Association of Theater Owners president John Fithian put it, “The Lion King movie was released in 1994...A DVD release in 2011 has a 17-year window. The fact that exhibitioners and our patrons can benefit from a 3-D release is gravy.” So, if the new, improved Simba brings in as much gravy as is expected (up to $18 million in the first three days alone), count on seeing many, many more 3-D reissues. [NYT]
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