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IMAX movie to promote U.S. national parks to begin filming

IMAX movie to promote U.S. national parks to begin filming
A visitor watches the world's biggest IMAX screen at the China Science and Technology Museum in Beijing. (Associated Press)

Tourism officials plan to go big to promote the United States to foreign visitors. IMAX big.

Brand USA, the public-private partnership to promote the United States abroad, announced plans Monday to film an IMAX movie about the country's national parks to be shown late next year in theaters around the world.

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The group, which was launched in 2012 and is partly funded by fees charged to visiting tourists, is expected to spend about $10 million on the movie, with sponsors underwriting most of the cost, said Chris Thompson, president and chief executive of Brand USA.

Brand USA is working with MacGillivray Freeman Films to produce and complete the documentary by next year, Thompson said.

MacGillivray Freeman has produced such IMAX-format films as "Everest" (1998), "To Fly!" (1976), "The Living Sea" (1995) and "Dolphins" (2000), among others.

The IMAX movie will focus on U.S. national parks, with filming expected to begin next month. It will be shown in those countries where tourism to the United States has been on the rise, especially China, Thompson said.

"This is a creative way to reach the consumers themselves," he said.

IMAX Corp., the Canadian big screen movie theater operator, has expanded a previous partnership with Wanda Cinema Line Corp., Asia's largest cinema owner, to build 210 large-format theaters in China by 2021.

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