You don't need to "use the force" in order to cash in on George Lucas' decision to begin releasing all six films to theaters in 3-D. Beginning with The Phantom Menace in 2012, Lucas plans to re-release the films in chronological order at a multiplex near you.
There are some obvious -- and some not so obvious -- publicly traded winners in this move. Let's go over a few of them.
(NYSE: RLD): This one is fairly obvious. RealD is the leading player in cost-effective 3-D screen conversions for exhibitors. William Blair analyst Ralph Schackart is so inspired by the move that he told investors today that the first three installments alone could be enough for $0.57 a share in incremental profits for RealD.
(Nasdaq: IMAX): If Lucas is going all out with the upward conversion, he may as well aim for IMAX 3-D screens as well. Either way, even if the series bypasses the gargantuan IMAX experiences, the move will still validate the premium movie ticket that IMAX needs to continue growing.
(NYSE: HAS): As the licensed maker of Star Wars playthings, the toymaker was playing up the third season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars as an opportunity to market new toys during this summer's Comic-Con expo. Just imagine how giddy Hasbro got over the six upcoming theatrical rereleases.
There are other ways to play this, of course. Regal Entertainment
This won't be a slam dunk, though. Re-releases often fare poorly at the box office, appealing only to diehard fans. However, the 3-D conversion will raise the stakes -- and the hype -- behind Lucas' move.
It also wouldn't be a surprise, as Lucas milks the appeal of presenting his films in chronological fashion over several years, that it ends with his decision to film the final three installments in what is supposedly a nine-picture saga.
The force is strong with this one.
Would you go experience Star Wars again in 3-D? Share your perspective in the comment box below.
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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is a movie buff, but he doesn't own shares in any of the stocks in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.