Independent producer Steve Bing of Shangri-La Ent. has forked over $80 million to co-finance Warner Bros. feature, POLAR EXPRESS, reports VARIETY. Bing will not take a personal producing credit on the film, but the credits will read: "a Castle Rock presentation of a Shangri-La production." Unlike gap financing that must be repaid to an investor, Bing is taking the same financial risk as Warner, who will retain distribution rights worldwide.
Based on the popular children's book by Chris Van Allsburg, the story follows a boy's journey to the North Pole on Christmas to find Santa. Robert Zemeckis is directing with Tom Hanks starring. The unique style of the film has the actors motion captured on sound stages then transformed into digital representations placed in an entirely CG environment. Hank's Playtone, in addition to Zemeckis' ImageMovers, are also on board as producers. The BIG star will provide voices for multiple characters.