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'Stalingrad' to Become Russia's First IMAX Movie

MOSCOW – Fyodor Bondarchuk’s $30 million war drama Stalingrad, one of the most ambitious and expensive recent local film projects, will also become the first Russian movie in the IMAX format.

Stalingrad is a historic movie and it is very important for us to make the viewers feel as if they were sitting in a trench,” Bondarchuk was quoted as saying by the business daily Vedomosti. “To give the audiences a chance of 'feeling' the film to the full extent, for the first two weeks, it will be screened only at IMAX theaters.”

He added that the original screenings at IMAX theaters wouldn’t lead to illegal copying as it is technically impossible with that format.

Producers expect that the release of Stalingrad at IMAX theaters will also help to increase its box office gross as tickets for IMAX shows are considerably more expensive than for regular screenings.

Experts say that making Stalingrad in the IMAX format is a move in the right direction. “I believe that IMAX is the most promising of all 3D formats,” Oleg Ivanov, general director of Movie Research, told The Hollywood Reporter.

Currently, there are 19 IMAX theaters in Russia, but the opening of several more in the country’s various cities is expected to coincide with the release of Stalingrad in the fall of 2013, the year when the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Stalingrad is to be celebrated.

The shooting of Stalingrad, financed by the state-controlled bank VTB, the producers’ own resources and the government, began last summer.