A Lake Theatre representative described last weekend's "Chicken Little" run as "unbelievable."
"We sold out every show except (two)," said Chris Johnson, vice president of Downer's Grove-based Classic Cinemas, which owns the Lake. "The 3-D absolutely made a big effect."
Between Friday and Sunday, an estimated 5,000 moviegoers saw the film, which the Lake projected in a brand new Real D 3-D technology with a brand new $50,000 digital projector.
The investment paid off. The attendance numbers compare favorably to sites that showed the two-dimensional version of the film. At Classic's St. Charles 18-screen location, "Chicken Little" was shown on three screens, but brought in the same numbers as the Lake.
"Chicken" also compared favorably to "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," which was seen by 5,412 at the Lake the weekend of July 15, but on two screens, one twice the size of Theater 7, which has the new digital 3-D projector.
The Lake scheduled extra shows, starting at 10:30 a.m. and running about every two hours until 10:30 p.m., thanks to a relatively short running time of 81 minutes.
The shows last weekend sold out about two hours in advance, which helped push up ticket sales to "Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit."
"It was phenomenal," Johnson said. "It created a lot of excitement."
Johnson said the excitement did cause one problem: where to hold people in line who arrived early for the next "Chicken" show. "It's a good problem to have," he said.
The theater will expect another big weekend ahead, but not as big as last weekend. Johnson expects 3-D attendance will hold up longer for the film than for its regular showings at other theaters. He said last weekend's rainy and cold weather helped sales.
Much of the excitement about "Chicken" is about the 3-D technology, which Johnson explained as the difference between looking at a wall or through a window. "They don't try to hit you over the head with effects. It's more subtle."