Walt Disney Pictures offers moviegoers a glimpse into the future of theatrical exhibition with the November 4th debut of "Chicken Little" in Disney Digital 3D(TM). Disney Digital 3D, presented exclusively in Dolby® Digital Cinema, is a brand new state-of-the-art technology that provides the first true three-dimensional digital experience in movie theatres. In collaboration with Disney, Dolby Laboratories is overseeing the rollout of its Dolby Digital Cinema systems in a total of 84 specially-selected, high-profile theatres in 25 top markets. Visual effects giant Industrial Light & Magic (a Lucasfilm Ltd. company) rendered the movie in 3D. Digital 3D pioneer, REAL D, applied several of its patented technologies (screens, software and glasses) to make the "Chicken Little" 3D experience possible for presentation on the Real D Cinema system. This joint effort has resulted in the next leap forward in the evolution of motion picture entertainment, bringing animation to life.
"Chicken Little" is Disney's first fully computer-animated feature film, and it brings the Studio's distinct filmmaking style and approach to this exciting medium. The sky's the limit in this delightful comedy-adventure that gives a sophisticated and satirical twist to the classic fable. It is now one year after the "unfortunate acorn incident" when Chicken Little caused big-time havoc in his hometown of Oakey Oaks by proclaiming that the sky was falling after being conked on the head by what appeared to be an acorn. Down but not out, the plucky chicken joins the local baseball team in the hopes of reviving his reputation and winning the respect of his father, Buck Cluck. When he leads the town to an upset victory, he becomes the toast of the town. But no sooner has the champion chicken redeemed himself when he is hit on the head one more time. And this time the sky really is falling! Fearful of once again being labeled crazy, he is reluctant to tell anyone what has happened. Instead, he enlists the help of his closest pals - Runt of the Litter, Abby Mallard (aka Ugly Duckling), and Fish Out of Water - in an attempt to save the day without sending the town into a whole new panic.
Commenting on the announcement, Dick Cook, chairman, The Walt Disney Studios, said, "Disney Digital 3D is a truly groundbreaking technology that combines the latest innovations of science and art, and we are proud to be a part of filmmaking history. Walt Disney pioneered many technological breakthroughs and set an uncompromising goal for his Studio to constantly push the envelope to offer a superior movie-going experience. We are very proud to add this animation milestone to the long list of technological breakthroughs for the studio, and we are especially thrilled to work with entertainment technology leader Dolby in this exciting launch. Likewise, we are proud to have the wizards at Industrial Light & Magic to help deliver the movie in 3D, and the experts at REAL D on board to make 3D like no one has ever seen."
Academy Award®-winning director James Cameron ("Titanic"), a long-time supporter of 3D, added, "I think digital 3D offers an opportunity to do something as profound for today's movie-going audiences as the introduction of color and sound. This is the next big thing, and I think people are going to respond to these really high quality 3D images. 'Chicken Little' is going to go a long way towards getting people really excited about 3D again. I call it the 3D renaissance. Disney is a leader in showmanship and animation, and animation and 3D go together like peas and carrots. Animated films and fantasy films really benefit from 3D. You get a heightened sense of being personally present in the space of the movie. You're drawn into it. It's like the movie wraps around you and takes you into its reality. That's a very exciting thing for a filmmaker. I'm really proud of Disney for grabbing the flag and running out in front to make this happen."
Tim Partridge, senior vice president and general manager of the professional division for Dolby Laboratories, observed, "We live in a digital world, and consumers expect most of their entertainment these days to be delivered with the quality of digital. Digital cinema ensures that the movie will look as good on the hundredth screening as it did on opening night. There's no more dirt or scratches; the image is always crystal clear and beautifully steady. What you see on the screen is the movie exactly as the director intended. As a result, audiences are able to get much more involved in the story because there are no distractions. When audiences go to see a movie played in Dolby Digital Cinema, they will be blown away by the quality and will want to see all their films digitally in the future."
"'Chicken Little' really lent itself to 3D because of the way the filmmakers composed their shots and told their story," said Colum Slevin, senior director of computer graphics at ILM Slevin. "The design is gorgeous, simple and stylized, and your eye is always drawn to a particular character or detail with the lighting. The 3D enriches that design and makes it pop, without ever slapping you in the face. You just feel like you're looking at a really deep, rich image."
Joel Aron, ILM's digital production supervisor, observed, "What's amazing about the 3D in 'Chicken Little' is that you're able to look around and see everything in the frame. You can see things behind the characters. You can look out the window of Chicken Little's home and see the stars in the sky. This level of detail has never been done before in 3D and this is the latest evolution of the technology."
"We're excited a studio with the prestige and heritage of Disney has embraced the digital 3D medium with such enthusiasm," said Michael V. Lewis, chairman, Real D. "We've worked for years to create a digital 3D delivery system that is elegant for exhibitors and extremely comfortable for moviegoers, and we're thrilled Disney's 'Chicken Little' will be the premiere presentation in the REAL D Cinema format."
Added Joshua Greer, CEO, REAL D, "The REAL D Cinema system projects left and right frame images sequentially at 144 frames per second - three times that of traditional film-based 3D movies -- which was the threshold REAL D deemed necessary for creating a natural 3D entertainment experience for the mainstream consumer. As each frame alternates between left and right eye images, the system changes the orientation of the light of match the orientation of the glasses. The polarized glasses that decode the images allow audiences to tilt their heads and move around, making for the most enjoyable 3D movie-going experience ever. Finally, a specially-treated silver movie screen keeps the polarization coherent, allowing audiences to perceive depth. This complete system allows for the most comfortable, highest quality 3D experience ever produced, and one we think audiences will come back to experience again and again.
According to "Chicken Little" director Mark Dindal, "What I like about the process is that it's very comfortable to watch. It feels like the screen becomes a window instead of a wall, and you're looking behind it into this universe that really exists. It has the warmth and charm of a View-Master®. As I would watch the dailies come back in 3D, I literally cheered and laughed and clapped my hands. It was a fantastic collaborative experience."