Visitors wear 3D glasses as they watch a preview of the upcoming movie Avatar during the 40th annual Comic Con Convention in San Diego in this July 23, 2009 file photo. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

The highly anticipated 3-D movie Avatar could make more than $250 million in the U.S. and Canada, and draw new audiences to 3-D films, Regal Entertainment Group's chief executive said on Tuesday.

Amy Miles, who runs the world's largest theater operator, said Avatar appeals to older viewers who have not seen 3-D films because many recent 3-D releases have been animated movies appealing to children, such as Monsters vs. Aliens and Up.

I think what that would do is introduce a section of the audience that has not seen 3-D, told Reuters.

Avatar is from director James Cameron, whose 1997 blockbuster film Titanic was the highest-grossing movie of all time worldwide, with $1.7 billion.

Using new 3-D technology, Avatar tells the story of a U.S. Marine soldier who visits an extraterrestrial globe with exotic inhabitants.

The film's release, by Twentieth Century Fox on December 18, comes as Regal is making a big push into digital technology, converting 1,500 of its more than 6,700 screens to 3-D technology.

But while Miles said the movie is likely to be a hit, and draw in new audiences, she played down the potential importance of Avatar to the broader push for 3-D in theaters.

I'm a little less of the opinion that 'Avatar' is a game-changer, Miles said. I think from a film technology perspective, there's a lot of enhancements that are going to benefit the industry, but 3-D is going to be successful whether 'Avatar' is successful or not, Miles said.