Brendan Fraser, executive producer and star of Journey to the Center of the Earth 3-D, the first live-action digital 3-D movie to hit the big screen this summer, introduced his new movie to the throngs of exhibitors at ShoWest yesterday. Along with his stunning Icelandic co-star Anita Briem, the actor told audiences to strap into the 5-point harness for the thrill ride from first-time director Eric Brevig. And the movie didn’t disappoint: Complete with high-quality 3-D gimmicks, such as a view from the drain when Fraser spits water, flying fish soaring right toward your face, and a huge Tyrannosaurus Rex coming for your throat, Journey was a family-friendly tale that 8-year-olds (and their parents) will enjoy. Centering on a scientist and his nephew, who go on a venture to Iceland and come across a major discovery that takes them to the center of the earth, Journey should be a solid money-maker this summer. Set to release July 11, the movie, which was once supposed to debut solely in the 1,000 or so digital 3-D screens, will now get a 2-D release as well, to fill out its theater count. Expect a 2-D trailer to be hitting the movie theaters shortly.

The film is likely to mark the final project from the current New Line staff. (The 40-year studio is being folded into its parent company, Warner Bros.) New Line’s post-screening party for Journey should have been a celebratory occasion, considering how well this 3-D gamble seemed to screen. But given that some 75 percent of the staff is expected to lose their jobs, there was very little celebrating among the New Line rank-and-file at the Risque club in the Paris hotel on Wednesday. Most employees are tired of the constant flow of rumors, which seem to change daily. They did find out the severance package for non-contract employees, but no decision has been made on who will run the division under Warner Bros., or what that division may look like. The common understanding is people will keep their jobs, at least on the marketing and distribution side of the company, until July 11 when Journey is released.