Hanks, WB Get Antsy for IMAX

As The Polar Express gets set to make another run in IMAX theaters this Thanksgiving, star Tom Hanks is working with Warner Bros. to produce an all-new computer-animated IMAX film. Helmed by Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius director John A. Davis of DNA Prods., The Ant Bully will be released simultaneously in IMAX 3D and conventional 2D formats on August 4, 2006.

The Ant Bully marks the third IMAX project for Hanks’ Playtone Prods. and the tenth IMAX commitment for Warner Bros. Pictures, which will exclusively distribute the film to IMAX theaters worldwide. Hanks will produce the pic with fellow Playtone principal Gary Goetzman.

IMAX Co-Chairmen and Co-CEOs Richard L. Gelfond and Bradley J. Wechsler comment, “The last IMAX 3D film we did with Warner Bros. Pictures and Tom Hanks grossed an average of $550,000 per screen, so we’re obviously very optimistic about the potential The Ant Bully holds for the IMAX theatre network."

Davis, who also wrote and directed the 3-D IMAX film, Santa Vs. The Snowman, adapted The Ant Bully from the popular children’s book by John Nickle. The book tells the tale of a young boy who floods an ant colony with his water-gun, and is magically shrunken down to insect size and sentenced to hard labor in the ruins. Before returning to normal stature, he comes to appreciate the selfless nature of the ants and learns a valuable lesson about tolerance and empathy. The movie’s all-star voice cast will include Nicolas Cage, Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, Paul Giamatti, Lily Tomlin, Cheri Oteri, Alan Cumming, Regina King, Ricardo Montalban and newcomer Zach Tyler Eisen.