(October 27, 2004 – Kansas City, MO) — “The Polar Express,” Chris Van Allsburg’s beloved children’s book, published by Houghton Mifflin Company, captures the pure spirit of the holiday season. It is a time of wonder, of enchanting discovery, of boundless fascination … but only available for those who truly believe. The inspirational tale will become even larger than life when it hits the big screen this November 10th with the theatrical release of “The Polar Express” from Warner Bros. Pictures, starring the Academy Award-winning team of Tom Hanks and director Robert Zemeckis. And now, true believers can take home a little bit of that magic after the credits roll. As the official “The Polar Express Headquarters” this holiday season, Hallmark Gold Crown® stores will offer exclusive gifts celebrating the spirit of “The Polar Express” story. “'The Polar Express’ is such a classic Christmas story, it seemed appropriate that Hallmark Gold Crown stores, a traditional holiday destination, serve as the ‘The Polar Express Headquarters,’” says Greg Raymond, vice president of license acquisitions at Hallmark. “From an authentic reproduction of the bell Santa gives as the first gift of Christmas, to a water globe that was developed using the train lantern in the film as inspiration in its creation, the one-of-a-kind Hallmark collection truly brings the classic story to life.” In “The Polar Express” movie, a doubting young boy takes an extraordinary train ride to the North Pole. Fans can feel the excitement of the moment with Hallmark’s Lantern Water Globe ($24.95) that features the conductor and boy running to catch the train, emblazed with the words, “All Aboard the Polar Express!” And kids will love the Train Night-Light ($12.95), complete with a bulb that illuminates the engine headlight and gives the appearance of smoke swirling from the smokestack. When the train reaches the North Pole, Santa offers the boy whatever his heart desires. The boy chooses a silver bell from Santa’s sleigh, straight from the reindeer’s harness, as the “first gift of Christmas.” The boy learns the sound of the bell can only be heard by those who believe. Consumers will love The Bell ($12.95), an authentic reproduction of this gift from Santa. Tucked in a red striped, hinged box, it reads in gold letters: “First Gift of Christmas 2004 – The bell still rings for me as it does for all who truly believe.” Similarly, the Magic Bell Ornament ($24.00) rings and features Santa’s voice saying, “Always remember, the true spirit of Christmas lies in your heart.” In the end, the boy learns that the wonder of life never fades for those who believe. Also available at Hallmark Gold Crown stores are copies of “The Polar Express” book on which the movie is based. Fans can pick up a copy of the book, settle down by the fire with a cup of hot chocolate, and read the story aloud with the entire family. Hallmark’s The Polar Express Mug provides colorful commentary, equipped with a light-activated sound of the train rumbling down the mountain. A special Polar Express plush Santa Claus will also be specially offered for $9.95 with the purchase of any three cards. Other gifts available in The Polar Express™ Collection from Hallmark include Keepsake Ornaments, photo frames, gift wrap, a tealight holder, stocking holders, greeting cards and partyware. The variety of gifts in the Collection will delight even those not so familiar with “The Polar Express” story. “We’ve had a long relationship with Warner Bros. Consumer Products,” says Raymond. “And appreciate the opportunity to be involved in such an exclusive project.” “Hallmark has a long history of celebrating warm holiday traditions and these traditions are perfectly in sync with what ‘The Polar Express’ symbolizes,” said Karen McTier, Executive Vice President, Domestic Licensing, Warner Bros. Consumer Products. “Now filmgoers can take a bit of the movie magic and enchantment home with them.” The Polar ExpressTM Collection from Hallmark is available exclusively at participating Hallmark Gold Crown stores nationwide. For more information, or to find the nearest participating Gold Crown retailer, call 1-800-HALLMARK or visit www.hallmark.com. Editor’s Note: High-resolution images are available to media by calling (816) 512-2385. Find additional information on holiday trends at http://pressroom.hallmark.com. About Hallmark Kansas City-based Hallmark is known throughout the world for its greeting cards, related personal expression products, and television’s most honored and enduring dramatic series, the Hallmark Hall of Fame. The company’s Hallmark Entertainment, Inc. subsidiary is the world’s leading producer and distributor of movies and miniseries made for television; its Binney & Smith subsidiary, maker of Crayola® crayons and markers, is the leading producer of art materials for children and students. Through licensing leadership and joint ventures, Hallmark continues to expand its product formats and distribution avenues. The company publishes products in more than 30 languages and distributes them in more than 100 countries through a multi-national strategy. In 2003, Hallmark reported consolidated net revenues of $4.3 billion. About Warner Bros. Consumer Products Warner Bros. Consumer Products, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company, is one of the leading licensing and retail merchandising organizations in the world. About “The Polar Express” Film and Book “The Polar Express” movie is based on Chris Van Allsburg’s classic holiday picture book, which tells the story of a boy who takes a magical Christmas Eve train ride to the North Pole to receive a special gift from Santa. First published by Houghton Mifflin Company in 1985, “The Polar Express" has sold more than 6 million copies worldwide and won the Caldecott Medal, which honors distinguished picture books for children. In theaters nationwide November 10th, “The Polar Express” re-unites the Academy Award-winning team of Tom Hanks and director Robert Zemeckis (“Forrest Gump,” “Cast Away”). About Houghton Mifflin Company Houghton Mifflin’s Trade and Reference Division publishes adult, juvenile, and reference books. Its adult titles encompass literary fiction and a broad spectrum of nonfiction, as well as its highly regarded trade paperback line, Mariner Books. Houghton Mifflin’s children’s list includes numerous Newbery and Caldecott Medal winners and constitutes one of the richest backlists of children’s literature in the industry. TM & © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
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