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Fighter Pilot surpasses 150 million viewers worldwide


Written by: K2 Communications
Date: July 28, 2008

The film chronicles the life of Air Force pilot, Captain John Stratton and a wide variety of USAF personnel at Nellis Air Force Base.


Category: Press Releases

Film has reached over 1 million viewers at the Smithsonian IMAX® Theaters alone, making it the 2nd-highest grossing aviation film ever at the Smithsonian

El Segundo, Calif., July 28, 2008 -- According to Smithsonian V.P. of IMAX® Theater Operations, Toby Mensforth, the dynamic Giant Screen film FIGHTER PILOT: OPERATION RED FLAG has pushed the ticket sales envelope to new record heights.

"Sometime in June we sold the one-millionth Fighter Pilot ticket -- proving the market for IMAX® Theater flight films and America's love affair with flying is boundless," Mensforth said. Globally, the film -- Executive Produced and distributed by leading independent large format studio K2 Communications, and underwritten by The Boeing Company -- has been seen by over 150 million combined theatre and DVD viewers in 40 countries and is still going strong in a number of locations.

Released to IMAX® and other Giant Screen theaters in December 2004, Fighter Pilot: Operation Red Flag, chronicles the life of Air Force pilot, Captain John Stratton* and a wide variety of USAF personnel at Nellis Air Force Base, home to the legendary Red Flag combat simulation exercises. Red Flag took on unparalleled notoriety after the Vietnam War, when adversarial flight training went from classroom discussions to Mach speed simulated combat over the Nevada desert.

Fighter Pilot offers a view into a world not many have seen, a behind the scenes look at the people and planning it takes to implement a modern air force combat mission. "This is THE movie of the Air Force for the next 30-40 years, as seen through the prism of a Red Flag exercise and Capt. Stratton's personal journey," stated Lt. Col. Sam Morgan, a pilot and the film's Air Force Technical Advisor.

The millionth ticket sale at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum and its Udvar-Hazy Center makes Fighter Pilot: Operation Red Flag the venue's second highest grossing aviation film of all time. Between the two Smithsonian screens, the film is presented five times daily. "Fighter Pilot continues to draw great crowds and please audiences," Mensforth added. "We could not be more pleased with Fighter Pilot's performance here at the National Air and Space Museum's IMAX® Theaters."

In addition to its impressive run at the Smithsonian venues, Fighter Pilot has played extensively throughout the United States and across five continents. The USS Lexington, now berthed in Corpus Christi, Texas has presented the film for three years to an audience of nearly 600,000 patrons, and continues to draw impressive attendance.

Fighter Pilot: Operation Red Flag is frequently used to celebrate special events such as Memorial Day remembrances or the USAF Anniversary. It is estimated that over 150 million aviation enthusiasts, Giant Screen devotees and those who admire planes and pilots have climbed into the Fighter Pilot cockpit for this unique Giant Screen experience. Fighter Pilot has now been licensed to broadcast and cable television operators in the U.S. and 40 other countries and so far eighty thousand Fighter Pilot DVDs have been sold.

Fighter Pilot: Operation Red Flag was produced and directed by Stephen Low, Executive Produced and distributed by K2 Communications and underwritten by The Boeing Company. According to director Stephen Low, "IMAX® technology is not a gimmick or special effect technique. Films such as Fighter Pilot engage the viewer in a unique and personal manner. That's why so many flight professionals give the film top-marks for authenticity and feel-of-flying. We're so proud of the work and Boeing's participation as underwriter, whose support is a true testament to the most demanding and dangerous of flight conditions," Low concluded.

ABOUT K2: K2 Communications has extensive IMAX® Theater film experience, including Everest, Adventures in Wild California, Fighter Pilot: Operation Red Flag and 3D Sun. Currently in production are three films for IMAX® and other Giant Screen theaters, in partnership with the Stephen Low Company: Legends of the Sky (Spring 2009), in association with the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum; Ultimate Wave 3D (Fall 2009), produced in association with Suzuki Automotive and Quicksilver; and Rescue 3D (working title – Spring 2010). Recognized as leaders in the Giant Screen industry, K2 brings a wealth of success and experience in all aspects of production oversight, global distribution, and marketing.  Beyond theatrical distribution, K2 was first to recognize and capitalize on the television aftermarket, acquiring a library of 60 films independently produced for IMAX® and other Giant Screen theaters, which they converted to high quality HD format.  Their library of films is now playing in 40 countries worldwide, and has been licensed to other media including Internet sites, airlines, cruise ships and hotel rooms. To solidify its leadership role in the industry, K2 Communications also operates the only comprehensive Giant Screen consumer/fan website,  For more information, consult

Theaters Currently Showing Fighter Pilot:

Air Force Museum Foundation IMAX® Theatre
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base
Dayton, OH 45433 USA

Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center IMAX® Theater
14390 Air & Space Museum Parkway
Chantilly, VA 20151 USA

Saint Louis Science Center Omnimax® Theater
5050 Oakland Avenue
Saint Louis, MO 63110 USA

USS Lexington Museum on the Bay Joe Jessel Mega Theater
Naval Aviation Museum
2914 North Shoreline Blvd.
Corpus Christi, TX 78403 USA

National Air & Space Museum Lockheed Martin IMAX® Theater
Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum
6th & Independence Ave
SW, Washington, DC 20560 USA

National Museum of Naval Aviation Memorial IMAX® Theater
1750 Radford Blvd., Suite B
NAS Pensacola, FL 32508 USA

Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum IMAX® Theater
3850 Three Mile Lane
McMinnville, OR 97128 USA

Great Lakes Science Center Cleveland Clinic OMNIMAX® Theater
601 Erieside Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44114 USA

U.S. Space & Rocket Center Spacedome IMAX®
1 Tranquility Base
Huntsville, AL 35805 USA

*Captain Stratton has now been promoted to Major. He is still flying the F-15C Eagle and is currently the Weapons Officer for the 44th Fighter Squadron at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan. As the Weapons Officer, he is the Chief of Weapons and Tactics and the Chief Instructor Pilot in the squadron.

IMAX® is a registered trademark of the IMAX Corporation.

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