(September 24, 2004 – Burbank, CA) – Brought together this holiday season by the upcoming release of the inspiring adventure “The Polar Express,” Warner Bros. Pictures, the National Education Association’s Read Across America and the Houghton Mifflin Company join to sponsor a unique reading program for children and raise funds for the nation’s struggling school libraries. Named for the film and for the beloved Caldecott Medal-winning book by Chris Van Allsburg on which it is based, “The Polar Express Reading Challenge” will launch nationwide on Friday, October 1st. Teachers who register their students and classes for the program will record the number of books read on an official reading log for a three-week period ending October 22. Participants help reach the program’s 200,000-title national goal and are eligible to win a private screening of “The Polar Express” for their classrooms, plus copies of Chris Van Allsburg’s work, movie posters signed by the author and other great prizes. While encouraging children to explore the worlds of knowledge and adventure offered through books, “The Polar Express Reading Challenge” will pledge one dollar for every book read up to the challenge goal, with funds going toward providing much-needed resources to school libraries across the country. Reading logs are now available for download from the movie’s official website at www.polarexpressmovie.com and the NEA website at www.nea.org/readacross or in the association’s monthly newsletter. “The Polar Express,” in theatres November 10, 2004, reunites the Oscar-winning team of Tom Hanks and director Robert Zemeckis in a heartwarming story about a doubting young boy invited to take an extraordinary train ride to the North Pole. Castle Rock Entertainment Presents, in Association with Shangri-La Entertainment, a Playtone / ImageMovers / Golden Mean Production of a Robert Zemeckis Film: Tom Hanks in “The Polar Express.” Directed by Robert Zemeckis from a screenplay by Zemeckis & William Broyles, Jr., the film is produced by Steve Starkey, Robert Zemeckis, Gary Goetzman and William Teitler and is based on the book by Chris Van Allsburg. Tom Hanks, Jack Rapke and Chris Van Allsburg are the executive producers. The production team includes directors of photography Don Burgess, A.S.C. and Robert Presley; production designers Rick Carter and Doug Chiang; and editors Jeremiah O’Driscoll & R. Orlando Duenas. Senior visual effects supervisors are Ken Ralston and Jerome Chen. Co-producer is Steven Boyd. Music score is by Alan Silvestri, and original songs by Glen Ballard and Alan Silvestri. “The Polar Express” will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company. Soundtrack album on Warner Sunset/Reprise Records. This film is not yet rated.
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