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A Polar Bear and Her Cubs are the Stars of 'To the Arctic'

By IMAX on April 20, 2012

A polar bear and her cubs are the stars of 'To the Arctic'

Father-son filmmakers Greg and Shaun MacGillivray head to the Arctic for an Imax documentary on temperature changes and turn the spotlight on a polar bear family.>

By Susan King, Los Angeles Times

April 19, 2012


Polar bears tend to be camera shy, which caused problems for the filmmakers of the newWarner Bros./Imax adventure"To the Arctic,"opening Friday.

The 40-minute 3-D documentary examines extreme temperature changes in the Arctic, which has led to the permanent ice pack melting quickly and endangering the existence of animals such as polar bears, caribou, seals, walruses and birds that are indigenous to the region.

Narrated by Meryl Streep, "To the Arctic" is the latest movie from two-time Oscar-nominated filmmaker Greg MacGillivray ("The Living Sea," "Dolphins") and his producer son, Shaun MacGillivray ("Grand Canyon Adventure: River at Risk"). The film's editor, Stephen Judson, wrote the script.

The production lasted four years, including eight months on location in the Arctic — but for the first six trips, the filmmakers were unable to get any usable footage of polar bear mothers and cubs, the animals most closely associated with the Arctic.

"When it comes to wildlife filmmaking, you can have the best script in the world but you don't know what you are going to get until you are there," said Shaun. "We got incredible footage of caribou herds, good stories with other animals like the walrus and great aerial photography."

Then, on their last trip in 2010, the crew spent a month on a 130-foot ice breaker, the MS Havsel, in and around the seas of Svalbard, Norway. That is where they found their stars.

"We were with them for five days straight," Shaun said. "We got that incredible sense of both being emotionally connected to them, but also what it was like for a single mom polar bear to be raising two cubs in an environment that gets harder every day."

At one point, the ice floe the bears were resting on floated within 20 feet of the ice breaker. "Even then she would sniff at us, but she wasn't freaked," said Greg. "The captain of the boat ... he felt after observing her for a couple of days that 'this is the smartest bear I have ever been around. She is not expending energy to get away from us all. Bears I have seen expend energy — they jump in the water, they swim away and they walk along the ice floe to get away. But she said I am not going to expend any energy to get away from this boat. I am comfortable.'''

Extremely comfortable.

The first day they saw the trio, the mother and her cubs were sleeping and playing when suddenly, she began to dig a hole in the ice. "I said, 'Why is she doing that?' Maybe there is a seal there," said Greg.

But that wasn't the case. She actually fashioned a chair out of the hole. "She lounged back in the air and she huffed," said the director. "It was a certain kind of huff and all of a sudden, the two cubs came running over and it was time to nurse. She was on her back, vulnerable as she could be with her nose — which is more or less her early warning device — lower, not high like they want it to be. The captain was right. This is an exceptional bear. This is our story. We got to stay next to these bears as long as we possibly could. It was an exceptional experience."

There are many "Aww" moments in the film with the cubs rough-housing and playing hide and seek on the ice floe. One of the cubs loves to play with its own paw.

But there was a lot of heavy drama because the bears' primary food source, seals, are not as plentiful as they once were. So male polar bears are now devouring bear cubs for sustenance. The MacGillivrays were able to capture frantic moments when the mother bear was trying desperately to save her cubs. "Our hearts were in our throats," Shaun said, especially because their rule as filmmakers is that they can't interfere with Mother Nature.

Each time, though the mother bear was able to hold off the attack. "She was just so amazing to be able to stand up to the male polar bear and be able to communicate with her cubs to always stay in front of her," said Shaun.

"You just go, 'Wow. That is true courage and true love,'" Greg said.

Read Full Article Here: LA Times

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The Hunger Games Returns To Select IMAX® Theatres For A One Week Engagement

By IMAX on April 20, 2012

April 20, 2012 – IMAX Corporation (NYSE:IMAX; TSX:IMX) and Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF) today announced that due to overwhelming demand, The Hunger Games will return to more than 100 IMAX® digital theatres across North America on April 27. The film will play for a one-week special return engagement through May 3. The Hunger Games has grossed over $533 million globally since its launch on March 23, including $13.2 million generated from IMAX theatres in its original one week run.“It’s wonderful that so many fans have expressed interest in seeing The Hunger Games in the immersive IMAX format, and many of these are repeat viewers,” said Lionsgate’s Motion Picture Group Co-Chair Rob Friedman, adding “We're delighted that IMAX has been able to accommodate them through this special one week re-engagement.” “The Hunger Games has become a cultural phenomenon and we are thrilled to provide moviegoers with another opportunity to see this year’s most successful film in IMAX,” said Greg Foster, Chairman and President of IMAX Filmed Entertainment.  Read more on PRNewswire.com

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LIONSGATE’S THE HUNGER GAMES BREAKS OPENING WEEKEND RECORDS IN IMAX® THEATRES

By IMAX on March 28, 2012

MAX Corporation (NYSE: IMAX; TSX: IMX) and Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF) today announced that the limited release of The Hunger Games: The IMAX Experience grossed $10.6 million in IMAX® theatres worldwide during its three-day opening weekend beginning March 23. Domestically, the film grossed $152.5 million, of which $10.2 million was generated in 268 IMAX theatres for a per-screen average of $38,000. The results mark an IMAX domestic box office opening weekend record for a digital-only release and for a non-sequel 2D release. "The reaction to the The Hunger Games has been remarkable and we’re thrilled that fans have sought out our format as an ideal way to experience this global phenomenon," said Greg Foster, Chairman and President of IMAX Filmed Entertainment. "Congratulations to Lionsgate, producer Nina Jacobson and director Gary Ross for this remarkable adaptation - what an amazing way to kick off our relationship.” “We believe the IMAX release of The Hunger Games helped broaden the audience beyond young females to include our core fanboy audience,” said Richard L. Gelfond, CEO of IMAX. “With sellouts all weekend and IMAX fans coming out in record numbers, these results clearly show that IMAX is a powerful way to eventize a movie." Read more on PRnewswire.com

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Titanic in 3D to Set Sail for a Limited Engagement in Select IMAX® Theatres on April 4

By IMAX on March 13, 2012

Paramount Pictures and 20th Century Fox announced today that James Cameron's Oscar®-winningfilm, Titanic will be digitally re-mastered into the immersive IMAX® 3D format and released for a limited engagement in 149 select IMAX® theatres worldwide. Titanic will open in 79 domestic IMAX theatres simultaneous with the film's wide release on April 4, 2012 and a total of 70 international IMAX theatres, 63 of which will open on April 4. Additional international playdates will be added as pending bookings are confirmed. Since its initial release on Dec. 19, 1997, Titanic has grossed $1.8 billion globally and remains the second-highest grossing film of all time. Read more on PRnewswire.com

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Prometheus to be Released in IMAX® 3D on June 8

By IMAX on March 8, 2012

IMAX Corporation and Twentieth Century Fox today announced that Prometheus, the summer's scariest action event picture and director Ridley Scott's return to the genre he helped define, will be digitally re-mastered into the immersive IMAX® 3D format and released in IMAX® digital and film theatres domestically and in a select number of IMAX theatres internationally, starting June 8, 2012. Sir Ridley directs and produces the film, which is written by Jon Spaihts and Damon Lindelof. Prometheus: An IMAX 3D Experience features a stellar international cast that includes Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Guy Pearce, Idris Elba, Logan Marshall-Green and Charlize Theron. "Ridley Scott is one of the best storytellers of our time, whose groundbreaking films Alien and Blade Runner changed the landscape of the science-fiction genre," said Greg Foster, Chairman and President of IMAX Filmed Entertainment. "We're excited about Prometheus and proud to add him to the prestigious list of directors whose films have been presented in IMAX." Read more on PRnewswire.com

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