'Moon' landing near for nWave

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LAS VEGAS -- Producer-director Ben Stassen jokingly calls his Belgium-based nWave Pictures "the black sheep of the Imax family." But in the summer, nWave will see its latest, the animated 3-D film "Fly Me to the Moon," receive a full-fledged U.S. theatrical release courtesy of the new Summit Entertainment.

At ShoWest on Wednesday, Summit showed off the trailer and a 10-minute sequence of the movie -- which revolves around the adventures of three houseflies that stow away on the historical Apollo 11 moon-landing mission -- using the Dolby Digital 3-D system.

Stassen is known for such large-format movies as 1999's "Encounter in the Third Dimension" and 2005's "Wild Safari 3D" that have been a staple on Imax screens. But with "Moon," he set out to re-create the historic Apollo landing in detail while spinning an animated yarn that will reel in younger kids for whom the moon landing is ancient history.

In introducing the film, which was conceived and produced as a 3-D feature, Summit's head of distribution Rickie Fay said, "What it translates to for younger audiences is an educational experience, but they don't realize that as they are being entertained."

The completed 85-minute movie will be released stateside Aug. 22 in digital 3-D theaters and Imax 3-D settings. It has debuted to solid boxoffice returns in Belgium.

But nWave also is adapting the film for nontheatrical settings, too.

A 49-minute version of the film -- with emphasis on the historical details and minus a third-act subplot about how competing Russian flies try to subvert the mission -- will be made available to science centers for their film programs. And a four-minute sequence of the movie has been adapted as a theme park ride and introduced at a Six Flags park in Texas.
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