Imax to partner on John Woo's 'Flying Tigers' 

Toronto company will digitally re-master $90 million epic

TORONTO -- Imax on Monday made it official: The giant screen exhibitor will partner with director John Woo and producer Terence Chang on the upcoming action epic "Flying Tigers."

Toronto-based Imax will digitally re-master the $90 million 1940s aerial battle epic movie for its super-sized format.

The U.S.-China joint production will see China Film Group become the lead Chinese financier, with shooting expected to start in spring 2011.

"It has always been a dream of mine to explore shooting with Imax cameras and to work in the Imax format, and the strong visual element of this film is incredibly well-suited to the tastes of cinemagoers today," Woo said in a statement. "

China Film Group chairman Han Sanping said his studio has partnered with Chang and Woo on the "Flying Tigers" since the film got off the ground, and predicted it will be its biggest project in 2011.

"The combination of John Woo, Terence Chang, China Film Group and Imax will enable this film to attract the widest possible local audience, while also presenting the charm and diversity of Chinese films for fans around the globe," Sanping said in his own statement.

The film, which is being packaged by Creative Artists Agency, will start pre-production in China in September.

There was no word on casting Monday, which is expected to be done on both sides of the Pacific.

The war drama portrays a true-life American military aviator who instructed volunteer Chinese fighter pilots to battle the Japanese during the Second World War.

Imax just finished co-producing its first non-English film, Aftershock, with the Chinese film studio Huayi Brothers Media.