Space Station 3D (2002) - News Poster

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Doc Channel, Imax ink content deal

Documentary Channel has inked a deal with Imax Corp. for the exclusive U.S. rights to 21 library titles, including the Tom Cruise-narrated Space Station.

The films, which represent some of Imax's most successful with a combined gross boxoffice of more than $600 million, will be televised for the first time in the U.S. as a result of the deal. Other titles include the Tom Hanks-narrated Magnificent Desolation as well as T-Rex: Back to the Cretaceous.

Doc Channel secured the rights with a multiyear contract inked through Norwalk, Conn.-based distributor Northstar Media and is planning to air them throughout the year. Imax has made the movies available in specially remastered high-definition and traditional broadcast formats.

Doc Channel founder and CEO Tom Neff declined comment on the financial terms of the deal but said it marks the 2-year-old network's biggest acquisition ever. He said the film package was appealing in part because of the wide range of subjects covered.

"These Imax documentaries will appeal to a very broad audience: from children to adults, from wildlife to space aficionados, from history lovers to film buffs to the socially conscious," Neff said, adding that he's looking at producing a short to air before each movie that will give viewers more information about Imax's large-format films.

Imax, Playtone blast off

Imax, Playtone blast off
TORONTO -- Reaching for the moon, giant screen exhibitor Imax Corp. on Wednesday unveiled plans to co-produce a 3D space-themed film, Magnificent Desolation, with Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman's Playtone. The 45-minute feature documentary, to be shot in the 15/70 format using Imax cameras, will portray 12 men who walked on the lunar surface through the use of eyewitness accounts, computer-generated models of the moon's landscape and previously unreleased NASA footage. Toronto-based Imax's Space Station, a 3D film released in April 2002, has to date grossed around $70 million at the boxoffice.

Imax posts its first profitable year since 1999

Imax posts its first profitable year since 1999
Cinemagoers would be willing to pay a premium of $3-$4 to see digitally remastered Hollywood blockbuster releases on Imax screens, Imax co-CEO Bradley Wechsler said. Wechsler made that prediction Thursday as Toronto-based Imax posted a fourth-quarter profit of $684,000, down from a profit of $19.6 million in 2001 because of a one-time $31.2 million gain from a debt buyback. Revenue for the quarter ending Dec. 31 was $37.3 million, compared with a year-earlier $33.8 million. In 2002, the company had its first profitable year since 1999, with earnings of $11.9 million, compared with a year-earlier loss of $145 million. Theater-system revenue during the latest quarter slipped more than 17% to $20.3 million from $24.6 million as revenue was recognized for five theater systems rather than the previous year's six. Film revenue jumped 74% to $11.5 million from $6.6 million, in part because of the success of the documentary Space Station. Wechsler said his company's turnaround could get a boost if consumers pay a premium on tickets to see A-title movies in Imax theaters, as independent research has suggested they would.

Cruise's Space Dreams Take Off

  • WENN
Cruise's Space Dreams Take Off
Actor Tom Cruise is preparing for blast off after admitting in interviews he'd drop everything to go into space. Talking at the premiere of new Imax 3D movie Space Station, which he narrates, at the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum in Washington, D.C. Wednesday night, Cruise admitted he has been secretly taking lessons on board a spacecraft. He said, "I toured the Johnson Space Center in Houston and I had a fly in a space shuttle simulator. I had a couple of good landings. I've had a lot of offers and I have been looking into it. I'm thinking about it. I'd love to do it." The actor, wearing braces on his teeth, was joined by his girlfriend Penélope Cruz at the screening, who dazzled in a sexy black pant suit and a green shirt.

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