Legend Has It—An Early Lead in the Post-Avatar Rush to Convert 2D Films to 3D

5/18/10Follow @bvbigelow

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Hollywood for more than a year. The reason is simple: Every 3D film since the January 2009 release of “My Bloody Valentine” has made more money at the box office than its 2D version. Even “Clash of the Titans,” which had already been completed as a 2D feature film when Warner Bros. ordered a rushed 3D makeover in 10 weeks, proved the new economics of 3D. While the 3D version was shown on only 28 percent of the screens—and at a higher ticket price—it generated 52 percent of the film’s overall revenue.

“Warner Bros. made a mistake with ‘Clash of the Titans,’” Sandrew says. “But they still made a lot of money.” By next year, he estimates there will be 20 to 30 conversion projects underway, transforming existing 2D movies from major studios into 3D versions.

Legend 3D is dividing its operations into three business units to accommodate the demand. One unit will be focused on producing 3D commercials for theaters (and the coming deluge of 3D-capable flat-panel TVs), another will work with major studios on new 3D feature film releases, and a third will work with studios to convert their catalogs of existing titles.

Think 3D versions of “Star Wars,” “The Matrix,” “Lord of the Rings,” “Gladiator,” and “Titanic.”

Legend anticipated the shift years ago, and began investing heavily in 3D conversion technology in 2008, after raising $5 million through a Series E preferred stock offering led by San Francisco-based Augustus Ventures. Legend’s longtime largest shareholder, now known as Par Investment Partners, also participated. “About five years ago, we knew that Avatar was coming out,” Sandrew explains. “We knew what Jim Cameron was doing. We also knew it was going to be a game changer.”

Yet Avatar really was more of a tipping … Next Page »

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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