Movie executives are watching "Chicken Little" box office numbers closely, said Chris Johnson, vice president of Classic Cinemas, which owns the Lake Theatre. They want to know how people will react to the technology before green lighting movies in the new 3-D format.
The secret of the new technology is in a fast-flickering digital projector displaying images in alternating clockwise- and counterclockwise-oriented polarization. Because the 3-D glasses have polarized lenses in opposite swirl patterns, each eye sees a different image, producing the three-dimensional effect.
Disney, which produced "Chicken Little," and others have committed to some 3-D films. Johnson said the next at the Lake would likely be "Monster House," directed by Robert Zemekis ("Forrest Gump"), due next summer.
The only hope before then right now is Peter Jackson's (Lord of the Rings) "King Kong," which will be released in two-dimension in December. A 3-D version may be released a few months after that, but Johnson said those plans are "tentative."
The Lake will not get the regular version of "King Kong."
The Lake's 3-D projector can also show movies digitally, which produces a crisper image than regular film projectors. Films released digitally are limited, too, Johnson said, in part because just a few theaters have been upgraded with the technology.
In Chicagoland, the Lake is one of eight theaters with digital projectors, one of just four theaters with the new digital 3-D.
The next movie craze expected at the Lake is "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," due out Nov. 18.