It’s easy to forget that the next Star Wars films to arrive in theaters are going to be the 3D versions of Episode II – Attack of the Clones and Episode III – Revenge of the Sith, what with all the excitement/dread over Disney acquiring Lucasfilm and initiating pre-production on Episodes VII-IX. 20th Century Fox has the rights to all three installments in George Lucas’ prequel trilogy and will release Episodes II & III 3D a matter of weeks apart late next year (in the hopes of replicating and/or improving on the box office returns for Episode I – The Phantom Menace 3D).

Fox has officially moved Revenge of the Sith 3D up slightly from its original 2013 release date. However, the studio has also abandoned its previous plans for a 3D re-release of another famous sci-fi blockbuster; namely, Roland Emmerich’s Independence Day.

The Phantom Menace 3D collected some $103 million in theaters around the globe, which allowed it to readily cover its post-conversion costs and turn a healthy profit; though, critical opinions on the effectiveness of the 3D treatment tended to fall on the mixed-to-weak side (read our review, for case in point). Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith do have the advantage over Phantom Menace from a 3D perspective, as the former Star Wars prequels were shot digitally – rather than on traditional film stock. Digital prints, in general, tend to convert more easily into the stereoscopic format (a.k.a. 3D), which in part accounts for how Pixar is able to effectively translate its older computer-animated catalog into 3D.

Attack of the Clones 3D, as it were, remains set to hit theaters on September 20th of next year, where it opens a week after the 3D re-release of Disney’s The Little Mermaid. Meanwhile, Revenge of the Sith 3D is now arriving just two weeks later on October 4th; there it will have competition for 3D screens during its opening weekend, from Robert Rodriguez’ long-gestating sequel Sin City: A Dame to Kill For.

Meanwhile, as mentioned before, Fox has (for now) pulled the plug on a 3D re-release of Independence Day, which would have arrived (when else?) during the Fourth of July Weekend next year. The 1996 film has never widely been regarded as a promising candidate for a 3D post-treatment, so it’s conceivable that early conversion results were not satisfactory; though, it’s also possible that studio executives just decided it wasn’t worth the time and investment from a financial perspective.

Over the past few months, reports have emerged suggesting that development is ongoing for a pair of 3D Independence Day sequels, so there’s also the chance that Fox is postponing ID4 3D until a date closer to those for the new installments (assuming they are actually made, that is). Then again, maybe this is just the first sign that the studio is giving up hope of turning Emmerich’s humans vs. aliens blockbuster into a franchise – but don’t count on that.

As mentioned before, Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones 3D opens in theaters on September 20th, 2013. Episode III – Revenge of the Sith 3D will follow two weeks later on October 4th.

Source: Box Office Mojo