Indie Producer Bankrolls Polar Express

Independent producer Steve Bing (The Big Bounce) is pumping $80 million into Warner Bros.’ CG holiday offering, The Polar Express, according to Daily Variety. The contribution will make up approximately half of the production budget for the Robert Zemeckis/Tom Hanks adaptation of Chris Van Allsburg’s award-winning children’s book.

The Polar Express tells the story of a young boy’s magical Christmas Eve train ride to the North Pole, where he receives a special gift from Santa. Hanks will provide the voice of the train conductor and various other characters. In addition, photos of the actor as a young child were used to build the CG model of the boy. The film is being produced entirely with motion-capture technology.

Bing’s Shangri-La Ent. joins Castle Rock, Zemeckis’ ImageMovers and Hanks’ Playtone as a co-production partner, though Bing himself is reportedly not taking a producer credit. The film is in post-production and is expected to hit theaters on Nov. 19.