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The Polar Express

Release Date: November 10, 2004


Movie of the Day for Wednesday, August 25, 2004
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I'm sad because I heard about that man who is forced to stay in a Terminal.

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Position Staff In Brief
33/126 Kim Hollis A charming Christmas movie that should become a holiday favorite.

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Remember when you were a six-year-old child, with all of the excitement of Christmas approaching? Every day you'd open a window on your advent calendar, the tree would be decorated, your class at school would sing carols. Then, on a glorious Christmas Eve night, you would put out a plate with cookies along with a cup of milk before your parents shooed you up to bed so that the jolly one himself would make sure your house was a priority stop?

Okay, so depending on your culture, that might not be a pervasive part of your childhood, but it remains an obvious fact that Santa Claus is very much a part of the Christmas celebration in North America. Countless stories have been written about the jubilation that arises when St. Nick comes to town, and every year these same tales are repeated as an emerging part of the holiday tradition. Tom Hanks and Robert Zemeckis are hoping to continue that tradition as they adapt the beloved children's book The Polar Express for the big screen.

Winner of the 1986 Caldecott Medal, The Polar Express was written by Chris Van Allsburg, who also penned Jumanji. The story revolves around a little boy who is having a crisis of faith as none of his friends or family members believe in Santa Claus. He is rewarded on Christmas Eve when a steam train pulls up in front of his home and takes him and several other children up to the North Pole to meet the Man in Red.

With Tom Hanks cast as the train conductor, this movie is set to be one of the biggest films of 2004. Director Robert Zemeckis is returning to a past technique that he used in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, where live action and animation come together for a sublime production. In the case of Polar Express, the animation will be live-motion capture CGI, so the techniques are updated a bit to account for the passage of nearly 15 years. "Semi-human" co-stars in the film include Michael Jeter, who sadly passed away recently but completed all his scenes, and Tom Hanks' old Bosom Buddy Peter Scolari.

Hanks and Zemeckis have had extremely successful collaborations in the past, including Cast Away and the Academy Award-winning Forrest Gump. Look for that success to continue as Hanks is stalwart in remaining the most bankable actor in the business. If anyone can have the masses believing there is a Santa Claus, it is almost certainly this pair. (Kim Hollis/BOP)


June 15, 2004

Based on a trailer attached to the IMAX release of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, The Polar Express will be released in November to IMAX theaters in the IMAX 3D format (which uses polarized glasses, and can be quite effective). It remains to be seen if the film will be redone specifically to add 3D-oriented 'events' (things being thrown at the screen, the train flying overhead, etc.). (David Meek/BOP)


Vital statistics for The Polar Express
Main Cast Tom Hanks, Chris Coppola, Michael Jeter
Supporting Cast Eddie Deezen, Julene Renee, Peter Scolari
Director Robert Zemeckis
Screenwriter Malia Scotch Marmo, William Broyles
Distributor Warner Bros.
Trailer Click Here for Trailer
Official Site http://polarexpressmovie.warnerbros.com/
Rating G
Running Time 100 minutes
Screen Count 3,650
Awards Awards page for The Polar Express
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture



Comparison films for The Polar Express
Title
Date
Opening
Adjusted Opening
Screens
PSA
Adj PSA
Total BO
Adjusted Total
Mult
Toy Story 2 11/24/9957.39 68.39 3236 17735.00 20248.6 245.82 292.94 3.05
Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas 11/17/0055.08 61.61 3127 17614.00 18953.8 260.03 290.89 4.72
Toy Story 11/24/9529.14 40.39 2457 11860.00 15813.3 191.78 265.84 4.90
Santa Clause 2, The 11/1/0229.01 30.16 3350 8659.00 8659.0 139.23 144.75 4.80
Cast Away 12/22/0028.88 32.30 2774 10411.00 11202.9 233.63 261.36 5.86
Forrest Gump 7/8/9424.45 36.13 1595 15329.00 21791.2 329.65 487.18 13.15
Santa Clause, The 11/11/9419.32 28.55 2183 8850.00 12580.9 144.83 214.04 7.50
League of their Own, A 7/3/9213.74 19.96 1950 7046.00 9847.4 107.53 156.24 7.83
Turner and Hooch 7/28/8912.21 18.45 1877 6505.00 9455.9 70.47 106.50 5.77
Jingle all the Way 11/22/9612.11 16.52 2401 5044.00 6618.8 60.59 82.66 5.00


     


 
 

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