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The Polar Express Shatters IMAX Box Office Record for DMR Hollywood Release


Written by: IMAX Corporation
Date: December 13, 2004


Category: Press Releases

Highest Grossing IMAX DMR® Release to Date Shows Strong Performance in International Markets

Picture Continues to Demonstrate Impressive Domestic "Legs" Five Weeks After Initial Release

NEW YORK, Dec. 13 -- THE POLAR EXPRESS: AN IMAX 3D EXPERIENCE, from Warner Bros. Pictures and Castle Rock Entertainment, continues to break box office records this holiday season, and in just five weeks, has become the highest grossing IMAX DMR® (Digital Re-mastering) release ever, IMAX Corporation (NASDAQ: IMAX; TSX: IMX) announced today. Playing on 77 screens around the world, the film grossed an estimated $2.53 million over the three-day period from Friday, December 10 through Sunday, December 12, with the North American gross essentially unchanged compared to the previous weekend. The 15 international screens playing the movie contributed approximately $500,000 of the total gross. The picture has now grossed an estimated total of $18 million in five weeks in IMAX® theatres, considerably surpassing the IMAX DMR box office record set by THE MATRIX RELOADED: THE IMAX EXPERIENCE, which grossed just over $14 million in twenty- two weeks.

The Polar Express began rolling out to a number of international markets during the past two weeks, with the IMAX® 3D version of the film opening day-and-date on 11 screens in The United Kingdom, Spain, Poland, Malaysia, The Czech Republic and Taipei. The film continued its successful international run this past weekend, recording noteworthy results in a number of markets, including the following highlights:

  • United Kingdom - The bfi London IMAX Cinema had another excellent weekend, selling out every Saturday and Sunday showing of The Polar Express: An IMAX 3D Experience before the weekend even began. The theatre has realized record advanced ticket sales for the film, and when combined with paid admissions, has already grossed more than $607,000. IMAX theatres in Manchester and Bristol have also registered record breaking results, selling out every planned showing this past weekend at each location, with the Bristol theatre adding extra shows.

  • Malaysia - For the second consecutive weekend, the newly opened Digi IMAX Theatre in Kuala Lumpur - the first IMAX theatre in all of Malaysia - sold out nearly every presentation of the film between Friday and Sunday.

  • Poland - IMAX theatres in Warsaw, Katowice and Krakow reported extremely high occupancy rates, selling out numerous shows this past weekend.

  • Mexico - Attendance at the recently opened Cinepolis Perisur IMAX Theatre in Mexico City increased for the fourth weekend in a row, as the theatre has added additional showings of The Polar Express: An IMAX 3D Experience to accommodate heavy consumer demand. The film has sold out 60 of 65 weekend showings at the theatre since opening to the public on November 19th.

"The advanced ticket sales and box office returns this movie is generating are unprecedented for our theatre," said Jim Hamilton, Head of Exhibition, bfi London IMAX Theatre. "The Polar Express: An IMAX 3D Experience is our first day and date release, and it clearly illustrates the power of the IMAX DMR format. The film has far exceeded our expectations, and it's been so popular, we've already added extra shows to help meet the demand."

Added Veronika Kwan-Rubinek, president of international distribution, Warner Bros. Pictures, "We are extremely pleased with how international audiences are responding to The Polar Express, and the results from IMAX theatres have been particularly outstanding."

"We continue to be amazed by the performance of The Polar Express: An IMAX 3D Experience and we're thrilled to see it become the highest grossing IMAX DMR release ever," said Greg Foster, Chairman and President of IMAX Filmed Entertainment. "The combination of a classic holiday story, next generation filmmaking and the magic of IMAX 3D is leading to unparalleled results for a digitally re-mastered Hollywood release -- in North America and now around the world. We can't imagine a better ending to a year where IMAX made such great strides to revolutionize moviegoing and offer people a whole new way to experience blockbuster Hollywood films."

Castle Rock Entertainment presents, in association with Shangri-La Entertainment, a Playtone/ImageMovers/Golden Mean Production of a Robert Zemeckis Film: Tom Hanks in The Polar Express. Directed by Robert Zemeckis from a screenplay by Zemeckis & William Broyles, Jr., the film is produced by Steve Starkey, Robert Zemeckis, Gary Goetzman and William Teitler and is based on the book by Chris Van Allsburg. Tom Hanks, Jack Rapke and Chris Van Allsburg are the executive producers.

The production team includes directors of photography Don Burgess, A.S.C. and Robert Presley; production designers Rick Carter and Doug Chiang; and editors Jeremiah O'Driscoll & R. Orlando Duenas. Senior visual effects supervisors are Ken Ralston and Jerome Chen. Co-producer is Steven Boyd. Music score is by Alan Silvestri, and original songs by Glen Ballard and Alan Silvestri.

The Polar Express will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company. Soundtrack album on Warner Sunset/Reprise Records. This film is rated G by the MPAA.

About IMAX Corporation

Founded in 1967, IMAX Corporation is one of the world's leading entertainment technology companies. IMAX's businesses include the creation and delivery of the world's best cinematic presentations using proprietary IMAX and IMAX 3D technology, and the development of the highest quality digital production and presentation. IMAX has developed revolutionary technology called IMAX DMR (Digital Re-mastering) that makes it possible for virtually any 35mm film to be transformed into the unparalleled image and sound quality of The IMAX Experience®. The IMAX brand is recognized throughout the world for extraordinary and immersive family entertainment experiences. As of September 30, 2004, there were more than 235 IMAX theatres operating in 35 countries.

IMAX®, IMAX® 3D, IMAX DMR® and The IMAX Experience® are trademarks of IMAX Corporation. More information can be found at

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