LOS ANGELES, Mar 31 (Reuters) Superman leaps tall buildings in a single bound, flies faster than a speeding bullet and this summer, will land in audience laps in a 3-D version of ''Superman Returns,'' set for Imax movie theaters.
Imax and Warner Bros. film studio on Wednesday said they plan to feature 20 minutes of the big-budget Hollywood movie in three dimensions when it hits theaters in late June, marking the first live-action, 3-D movie on giant Imax screens.
The plan highlights an ongoing trend by some major Hollywood studios toward placing more 3-D movies in theaters to generate excitement and lure fans in the face of a recent decline in movie theater attendance.
Total admissions declined 8.7 percent in the United States in 2005 to 1.4 billion. In contrast, Imax enjoyed a strong year in part by creating must-see ''events,'' showing big-budget Hollywood films on screens that can rise up to eight stories.
Imax and Warner Bros. teamed up for a 3-D version of the animated movie ''The Polar Express'' in 2004, and so far the film has grossed more than million in two seasons at Imax.
An Imax spokesman said ''Superman Returns'' director Bryan Singer has chosen certain segments of the action-filled movie about the comic book superhero to show in 3-D, and fans will be given a visual cue to put on special glasses to view them.
''Superman Returns,'' which debuts on June 30, stars Brandon Routh as the ''Man of Steel,'' who comes back to Earth after a mysterious absence in the universe only to find the love of his life, Lois Lane, has moved on. All the while, an old nemesis plots Superman's destruction.
Along with Warner Bros., The Walt Disney Co. and its units have been out front in making new 3-D films including the recent ''Chicken Little'' animated title. Burbank, California-based Warner Bros. is part of Time Warner Inc., and Imax Corp. is based in Toronto, Canada.
REUTERS SK RN0655