Warner Brothers announced today that they’re taking a cue from the success of Superman Returns and giving Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix the IMAX 3D treatment when it hits theaters this summer. Like Superman Returns, only select scenes from the film will be converted to 3D. Expect about 20 minutes of Harry waving his wand out over the audience.

As much as I love the new digital 3D technology Hollywood is obsessing over lately, I don’t see the point in doing this. I loved seeing Superman Returns in IMAX, but the 3D element was superfluous. Digital 3D is great… but only when it’s used on the entire movie. Still, it’s a good gimmick and probably one that will get a few more people to travel to an IMAX theater than might have otherwise. We’ll have to wait for Cameron’s movie before we get a major live action blockbuster which is actually designed for 3D from the start.

Here’s the full Warner Brothers press release on the subject:

“MAX Corporation and Warner Bros. Pictures today announced that select scenes of the IMAX DMR® version of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix will be digitally converted into An IMAX 3D Experience®. IMAX Corporation plans to use its proprietary 2D to 3D conversion technology to transform approximately 20 minutes at the end of the film – which is being digitally re-mastered into the unparalleled image and sound quality of The IMAX Experience® using IMAX DMR (Digital Re-Mastering) technology – into IMAX® 3D. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix will be released in IMAX® theatres and conventional theatres on July 13, 2007, and Warner Bros. Pictures will be the exclusive distributor of the film to IMAX theatres worldwide.

The film is based on the best-selling J.K. Rowling book and is the fifth installment of the widely successful Harry Potter film series. The previous installment of the series, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire which opened on November 18, 2005, shattered numerous IMAX 2D box office records at the time and has grossed more than $20 million in IMAX theatres worldwide.

“We are so pleased to be bringing audiences yet another outstanding Harry Potter film to the big screen in both 35mm and IMAX theaters,” said Dan Fellman, President of Domestic Distribution, Warner Bros. Pictures. “This is the Studio’s biggest franchise to date, and we expect this highly-anticipated fifth film to play phenomenally well in all theaters throughout the summer.”

“The Harry Potter films are an enormous draw all over the world, and this film should prove to be no different,” added Veronika Kwan-Rubinek, President of Distribution, Warner Bros. Pictures International. “The last 20 minutes in IMAX 3D will add a new element of excitement to the Harry Potter experience, making this a must-see for fans of all ages. We’re looking forward to a long and very successful run.”

“We couldn’t be happier to help bring this Harry Potter film to life in a new way,” said IMAX Co-Chairmen and Co-CEOs Richard L. Gelfond and Bradley J. Wechsler. “IMAX theatres are the only place to experience this year’s most anticipated movies in the world’s most immersive format, and we anticipate that moviegoers will want to enjoy Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix featuring scenes in IMAX 3D more than once.”

“We are delighted to once again work with David Heyman and the Harry Potter team, and Warner Bros. Pictures on another memorable Harry Potter movie,” added Greg Foster, Chairman and President of IMAX Filmed Entertainment. “We know that through the magic of IMAX, fans will already feel as is if they are right next to Harry, Ron and Hermione in IMAX’s larger-than-life 2D format, and we are thrilled to treat them to an even more immersive experience with the finale of the film brought to you in IMAX 3D.””

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