'Charlie' to open July 15

TORONTO — Moviegoers will see Willy Wonka, Charlie and the gang on the giant screen next summer.

Warner Bros. Pictures and Toronto-based Imax Corp. inked a deal Thursday for an Imax day-and-date release of Tim Burton’s remake of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” starring Johnny Depp.

Pic, an adaptation of the children’s classic by Roald Dahl and a remake of the 1971 film directed by Mel Stuart, will hit Imax and conventional theaters July 15. Producers are Brad Grey and Richard D. Zanuck.

This is the seventh collaboration between Imax and WB in two years. Others include installments of the Harry Potter and Matrix franchises, “NASCAR 3-D: The Imax Experience,” “Catwoman” and “The Polar Express.”

“With this track record of success, we plan to continue releasing films in Imax’s format day-and-date to capitalize on a new release window and offer audiences a uniquely immersive way to experience our blockbuster pictures,” said Dan Fellman, prexy of domestic distribution at Warner Bros. Pictures.

Imax chairman and prexy of filmed entertainment Greg Foster said pic will be a key title on the company’s 2005 release slate, which includes “Magnificent Desolation,” Tom Hanks’ 3-D documentary about walking on the moon and the CGI pic “Robots.”

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