Film studios are looking to 3-D to revive the industry the way sound and color once did

Three years ago, Jeffrey Katzenberg, one of the most powerful men in Hollywood, had a "Eureka!" moment while watching Robert Zemeckis's "The Polar Express." The adventure-filled Christmas story, starring Tom Hanks, used performance-capture technology to incorporate the movements of live actors into animated characters, a novelty at the time. But what made the viewing truly memorable for Katzenberg was that he was watching it in 3-D in an IMAX theater. For the CEO of DreamWorks Animation, who has overseen such hits as the "Shrek" franchise and the recently released "Madagascar 2," the experience was a revelation. As soon as he got back in his car, he called his team: "I've seen the future of cinema, and it is 3-D," he said. "We've got to go and figure this out because it's a tidal wave of opportunity, and whoever gets on it at the beginning and rides it is going to profit the most."

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