Doc Channel, Imax in pic pact

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The Documentary Channel has inked a deal with Imax for the exclusive U.S. rights to 21 library titles, including the Tom Cruise-narrated "Space Station."

The films, which represent some of Imax's most successful with a combined boxoffice gross of more than $600 million, will be televised for the first time in the U.S. as a result of the deal. Other titles include the Tom Hanks-narrated "Magnificent Desolation" as well as "T-Rex: Back to the Cretaceous."

Doc Channel secured the rights with a multiyear contract inked through Norwalk, Conn.-based distributor Northstar Media and plans to air them throughout the year. Imax has made the movies available in specially remastered high-definition and traditional broadcast formats.

Doc Channel founder and CEO Tom Neff declined comment on the financial terms of the deal but said it marks the 2-year-old network's biggest acquisition ever. He said the film package was appealing in part because of the wide range of subjects covered.

"These Imax documentaries will appeal to a very broad audience: from children to adults, from wildlife to space aficionados, from history lovers to film buffs to the socially conscious," Neff said, adding that he's looking at producing a short to air before each movie that will give viewers more information about Imax's large-format films.

Pat McDonald, who serves as co-president of Northstar alongside Andy Weir, said that the film package "allows both Imax and the Doc Channel to extend their brands."

Doc, which is headquartered in Nashville, reaches 21 million U.S. homes.
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