Star Wars 3D Release, Coming Soon to a Theater Near You

George Lucas plans to rerelease the entire Star Wars saga in 3D starting in 2012. First up: Episode 1: The Phantom Menace.

According to a report in industry newspaper The Hollywood Reporter, Lucas has held off on releasing 3D versions of the films until there were enough screens available to make Star Wars 3D a sizeable event.

At present, movies are limited to 2,000-2,500 3D locations, owing to an insufficient installed base of projectors and screens in the country, the paper reported. Movie theaters are adding 3D screens at a clip of 500 a month in the U.S., however, and foreign exhibitors also are pushing into 3D as quickly as possible now that financing for the installations is flowing.

By late winter or early spring in 2012, the exhibition industry should have all the 3D screens anyone could want for such a release.

Lucasfilm would use several higher-end conversion houses to work on the project, the paper reported.

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Also pushing the timetable is a potential breakthrough for the 3D TV market. With Samsung selling more than 50,000 3D-equipped television sets and Sony recently sending its version to market, the home-viewing experience could be primed for 3D DVD versions of the films by the time the new theatrical releases have run their course.

Lucas purportedly is lining up the theatrical rereleases as a lead-in to the ultimate home-viewing experience. Beyond that, the property would launch to other 3D media.

For more information, see The Hollywood Reporter.'s SciTech section is on Twitter! Follow us @fxnscitech.