Dreamworks Animation chief Jeffrey Katzenberg predicted Wednesday that next year will be the "biggest in the company's history." In a conference call with analysts and investors, Katzenberg observed that the company plans to release three features next year, each of them in 3-D, which will allowing premium ticket pricing. Katzenberg predicted that 3D will boost net revenue by $30-40 million per film and might well be more, depending on the number of additional 3D screens are in operation when the films are released. He implied that lenders are likely to be more open to providing financing to theater owners upgrading to digital 3D projection. Investors seemed impressed, sending the stock soaring to its high for the year, $38.99 before closing at $37.96. It was trading at $38.45 at midday today (Thursday). Meanwhile, the company seemed set on employing big names as vocal talent for its films -- if only for their marketing value. It was already able to line up Brad Pitt for its superhero tale Megamind , set for release next November; then today it announced that Leonardo Dicaprio will make his animated film debut when he provides the voice for Jack Frost in The Guardians, set for release in November 2012.

03/12/2009