Martin Grove’s Hollywood Report 02-06-12

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island – In Theaters Feb. 10

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island – In Theaters Feb. 10

Scene from the 3D converted reissue of James Cameron’s classic “Titanic”

Scene from the 3D converted reissue of James Cameron’s classic “Titanic”

Sam Worthington as Perseus in “Wrath of the Titans”

Sam Worthington as Perseus in “Wrath of the Titans”

3D Dimension: With the boxoffice nearly 14 percent ahead of last year, 2012’s off to a great start and Hollywood’s counting on 3D and its premium prices to drive ticket sales in the coming months.

This weekend’s a 3D doubleheader with the opening of Warner Bros.’ action adventure franchise episode “Journey 2: The Mysterious Island” and 20th Century Fox and Lucasfilm’s 3D converted reissue of “Star Wars: Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace.”

Both George Lucas’ “Menace,” starring Liam Neeson, Ewan McGregor and Natalie Portman, and “Journey 2,” starring Dwayne Johnson and Michael Caine, have been tracking best with under-25 males, an audience that’s typically keen on seeing films in 3D and willing to pay the higher price for 3D tickets.

Right on the heels of this weekend’s 3D film festival, Paramount will hold Feb. 14 sneak previews of its 3D converted reissue of James Cameron’s classic “Titanic.”

Although “Titanic” doesn’t open until Apr. 6, marking the 100th anniversary of the ill-fated ship’s actual launch, Paramount made the smart marketing move to sneak the romantic drama blockbuster starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet for Valentine’s Day. The frenzy to buy tickets for those sneaks was so great that not only did they sell out within a few hours, but some of the computer servers handling the sales actually crashed in the process.

What’s driving all this new interest in “Titanic,” whose original release grossed $1.8 billion in worldwide theatres, is the ability to see it now in 3D. Given the enormous interest in the sneaks, when “Titanic” sails into theatres Apr. 6 it should be met by a flood of moviegoers.

Other waves of 3D films will also be heading to theatres in the coming months and Hollywood hopes they’ll keep the boxoffice sizzling. Here’s a look at what to look for on the 3D front:

Columbia’s “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance” hits theatres Feb. 17, starring Nicolas Cage and Idris Elba.

Universal’s animated “Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax” opens Mar. 2, starring the voices of Zac Efron, Betty White and Taylor Swift.

Disney’s fantasy action adventure “John Carter,” starring Taylor Kitsch, arrives Mar. 9.

March should go out like a lion with Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures’ Mar. 30 opening of the fantasy action adventure “Wrath of the Titans,” starring Sam Worthington, Rosamund Pike and Bill Nighy.

Besides “Titanic,” April will bring Sony Pictures Animation and Aardman Animation’s “The Pirates! Band of Misfits,” starring such voice talents as Hugh Grant and Salma Hayek, opening Apr. 27.

May will kick off with Disney and Marvel Entertainment’s sci-fi action adventure “The Avengers” (May 4), starring Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans, and will wind up with Columbia and Amblin Entertainment’s sci-fi action comedy “Men in Black 3” (May 25), starring Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones.

June 15 is opening day for Disney and Pixar’s animated action adventure “Brave,” starring such voice talents as Kelly Macdonald, Billy Connolly and Emma Thompson.

20th Century Fox’s horror thriller “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,” starring Benjamin Walker, Rufus Sewell and Dominic Cooper, opens June 22.

One of the year’s highest profile 3D epics springs into action July 3 with Columbia and Marvel’s action adventure thriller “The Amazing Spider-Man.” This reboot of the mega-blockbuster franchise stars Andrew Garfield as Spidey/Peter Parker and is directed by Marc Webb, director of “(500) Days of Summer.”

July 13 is opening day for 20th Century Fox and Blue Sky Studios’ animated comedy adventure “Ice Age: Continental Drift,” starring such voices as Ray Romano and Dens Leary.

There’s no 3D on deck for August as of now, but September will see its return. Disney and Pixar’s 3D converted reissue of their 2003 animated blockbuster “Finding Nemo” swims into theatres Sept. 14, starring such voice talents as Albert Brooks and Ellen De Generes.

Also opening Sept. 14 is Screen Gems’ sci-fi horror thriller “Resident Evil: Retribution,” starring Mila Jovovich.

Oct. 5 will see Disney’s release of Tim Burton’s stop motion animated black & white horror comedy “Frankenweenie,” based on Burton’s 1984 live action short of the same name. The new films stars such voices as Winona Ryder and Catherine O’Hara, who previously worked with Burton on “Beetlejuice.”

Also arriving Oct. 5 is Lionsgate’s horror thriller “Leatherface 3D” (previously called “Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D”), starring Alexandra Daddario and Tania Raymonde.

The Weinstein Company’s Dimension Films label opens its horror thriller franchise episode “Halloween 3D,” starring Brad Dourif, Oct. 26.

Also coming from Weinstein/Dimension this year, but not yet dated, is the horror thriller “Piranha 3DD,” starring Neil Hopkins and Gary Busey.

November will get underway with Disney’s Nov. 2 launch of the animated “Wreck-It Ralph,” starring such voices as John C. Reilly, Jack McBrayer and Jane Lynch.

Universal’s action drama “47 Ronin,” starring Keanu Reeves and Ken Watanabe, opens Nov. 21.

Also arriving Nov. 21 is Warner Bros.’ sci-fi thriller “Gravity,” starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney.

3D will end the year with three high profile releases in December, starting with Warner Bros.’ release of New Line Cinema and MGM’s fantasy adventure “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.” Directed by Peter Jackson and starring Elijah Wood, Orlando Bloom and Ian McKellen, it opens Dec. 14.

Dec. 21 will see 20th Century Fox’s adventure drama “Life of Pi,” directed by Ang Lee and starring Sura Sharma and Irrfan Khan.

The year’s final 3D release will be Warner Bros.’ remake of the drama “The Great Gatsby,” directed by Baz Luhrmann and starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan, opening Dec. 25.

Bottom line: With more than two dozen premium priced 3D releases on deck through year-end, Hollywood is hoping for “stand-out” boxoffice business.