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IMAX® theatre film Dolphins and Whales 3D tops $10 million at the box office


A Sperm Whale (Cetacean - Toothed Whale), the largest toothed animal alive, filmed in the Azores archipelago (Portugal). Credit: Franco Banfi for 3D Entertainment.

Written by: 3D Entertainment Distribution Ltd.
Date: December 3, 2008

The film was first launched domestically in mid-February before opening in select international territories.


Category: Press Releases

Building on the successful 3D release, a specially-reformatted version for IMAX® Dome theatres will be available as of January 2009

Santa Monica (CA) and London (UK), December 3, 2008 / PRNEWSWIRE / 3D Entertainment Distribution proudly announced today that its latest IMAX® theatre release, DOLPHINS AND WHALES 3D: TRIBES OF THE OCEAN presented by Jean-Michel Cousteau, crossed the USD 10 million mark at the worldwide box office this past weekend. Benefitting from a staggered release at IMAX® 3D theatres, the film was first launched domestically in mid-February before opening in select international territories including Australia, Germany, Poland and Russia.

"This Thanksgiving weekend marked a new milestone in the film's successful run," said Francois Mantello, Chairman of 3D Entertainment Distribution Ltd. "I am thrilled its performance at IMAX® 3D theatres has proven to be nothing less than solid in these challenging times with an average per screen revenue of close to USD 300,000 domestically."

For John Lewis, Director of Theatres at the Texas State History Museum, "3D Entertainment has delivered yet another top performing documentary. Ticket sales have been consistently strong, thanks in great part to their stellar marketing support." Linda M. Candler, head of marketing at the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center, further adds, "It's in the top three documentary films we've had in our 10-year-old IMAX® theatre. Ninety percent of the audience rated it 'good' or 'excellent,' and offered comments such as 'great way to get the message across'." For Daniel Sibbers, Director of Marketing for Greater Union Filmpalast in Berlin (Germany), "It has been the most successful release in our IMAX® theatre's history, thanks to 3D Entertainment Distribution's unprecedented efforts to launch this film in the German market."

Dolphins and Whales 3D has been described by Peter Schilling of the Minneapolis Star Tribune as "a visual feast for adults and children alike." "Never have the secret lives of our intelligent fellow mammals been so beautifully depictured," wrote Jason Heck of the Kansas City Star. For the Boston Globe's Janice Page, "you're guaranteed the experience you came for: an up-close look so realistic you might actually duck to avoid a passing tail fin."

Building on this success, the company will launch a specially-reformatted version for IMAX® Dome Theatres in January 2009. "Each film frame has been digitally sharpened and enhanced using a proprietary technology developed in-house. The result is a powerful and immersive experience on the giant dome screen," explained the film's director, Jean-Jacques Mantello.

Over 1.6 million tickets have been sold to date for Dolphins and Whales 3D. Top grossing exhibitors include the New England Aquarium (Boston, MA) and CineStar IMAX® 3D Kino im Potsdamer Platz (Berlin, Germany), which take the first two spots.

In 2009, the film will open in Lehi (UT), Sacramento (CA), Colorado Springs (CO), Pittsburgh (PA) and Galveston (TX), among other locations. Bulgaria, Czech Republic, France, Hungary, Mexico and Singapore will also join the growing list of international territories in the coming year.

The film immerses viewers in the daily lives of small and giant cetaceans as they interact socially, play, communicate, feed, breed, migrate and fight for their survival. It delivers an important message in favor of the protection of these tribes while they are facing the greatest challenge of all: to survive the destruction of their habitat and depletion of food resources.

Three years in the making, Dolphins and Whales 3D required no fewer than 12 international expeditions and 600 hours underwater at some of the remotest locations on Earth, including off the Pacific Ocean atolls of Moorea and Rurutu (French Polynesia), Vava'u Island (Kingdom of Tonga) and the Valdez Peninsula (Argentina). Unlike other IMAX®-type films, it was shot entirely in the wild and consists solely of underwater footage, with no humans on screen.

The film features narration by actress and environmentalist Daryl Hannah. It was produced by 3D Entertainment and McKinney Underwater Productions and released by 3D Entertainment's distribution unit in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) and Jean-Michel Cousteau's Ocean Futures Society.

The official film website is

About 3D Entertainment
Founded in 2001, 3D Entertainment is a fast-growing company focused on the production and distribution of unique and innovative underwater-themed 3D films for IMAX® theatres and Digital 3D cinemas worldwide. Its mission is to immerse audiences of all ages in unique 3D story-driven experiences that inspire and educate on the vital need to protect the oceans and their inhabitants. The company has developed an original growth strategy based on the overall control of all production- and post-production-related aspects of its Digital 3D film adventures. In 2007, a separate business unit, 3D Entertainment Distribution, was created to oversee all non-production-related activities from IMAX® theatrical rights sales, film marketing, promotional events and educational outreach programs, to the development of ancillary markets. Alongside Dolphins and Whales 3D, the company's portfolio of ocean conservation-based films includes Ocean Wonderland (2003) and harks 3D (2005). The first two titles have grossed over USD 57 million theatrically and continue to play in the US and throughout the world. 3D Entertainment is in post-production on its first feature-length film, Oceans 3D: Voyage of a Turtle (85 minutes). For more information, visit the company's corporate website at

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