Holiday perennial gets upgrade

As a perennial holiday re-issue, Warner Bros.’ motion-capture pic “The Polar Express” has cumed $182.2 million domestically in its lifetime — but this is the first year since its initial 2004 theatrical release that 3D has helped boost the pic’s bottom line.

What’s more, very little money — if any — has been spent marketing the re-berth, according to Dan Fellman, prexy of domestic distribution at Warners.

Typically released at around Thanksgiving, the 2011 relaunch of “Polar Express” on Nov. 25 so far has tallied $158,201 from 24 locations, most of which are Imax.

That’s slightly behind the film’s comparable play period last year, but better than in 2009.

Fellman explains that this year’s first-ever 3D re-issue of “Polar” was converted specifically for Imax, though it is also playing in non-Imax houses. He adds that most of the Imax locations are screening “Polar” for only a limited number of showings a day.

“It’s an interesting film to look at,” Fellman says. “It opened to skepticism during a very competitive weekend in 2004, but it’s gone on to be a hugely profitable movie for the company.”

“Polar Express” should continue to play throughout the holiday season; during the past two years, the film ended its run at around New Year’s weekend.

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