By Pamela McClintock
LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Lucasfilm Ltd. and 20th Century Fox will release the 3D version of "Star Wars: Episode I:The Phantom Menace on February 10, 2012."
George Lucas' Industrial Light & Magic is supervising the 3D conversion, with an eye for both technological considerations and artistic intentions.
Lucasfilm believes "Star Wars" is perfectly suited to be seen in 3D.
Lucas hopes that releasing the film early in the year, outside of summer blockbuster season, will give it an open run at the box office and also set up the opportunity to sell merchandise through the balance of the year.
If the first in the series meets with success, the remaining five films would follow a year apart on comparable dates. However, depending on how the first release performs, the companies could also decide to open the subsequent entries in different spots on the calendar.
When the new, special-edition versions of the original three "Star Wars" movies were re-released in 1997, that cycle began with a re-release of "Episode IV: A New Hope" on January 31, followed by "Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back" on February 21 and "Episode VI: Return of the Jedi" on March 14.
Launching the movies in the first quarter of the year would also give Lucas Licensing the opportunity to offer new licensing programs throughout the course of the year.
(Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)