The Polar Express
The Polar Express is a 2004 American 3D computer-animated Christmas musical fantasy film based on the 1985 children's book of the same name by Chris Van Allsburg, who also served as one of the executive producers on the film. Written, produced, and directed by Robert Zemeckis, the film features human characters animated using live action motion capture animation.
The film stars Daryl Sabara, Nona Gaye, Jimmy Bennett, and Eddie Deezen, with Tom Hanks in six distinct roles. The film also included a performance by Tinashe at age 9, who later gained exposure as a pop singer in the 2010s, as the CGI-model for the female protagonist.
Castle Rock Entertainment produced the film in association with Shangri-La Entertainment, ImageMovers, Playtone, and Golden Mean for Warner Bros. Pictures, as Castle Rock's first animated production. The visual effects and performance capture were done at Sony Pictures Imageworks. The film was made with a budget of $165 million, a record-breaking sum for an animated feature at the time.
The film was released in both conventional and IMAX 3D theaters on November 10, 2004. It grossed $310.6 million worldwide, and was later listed in the 2006 Guinness World Book of Records as the first all-digital capture film. The film also marks Michael Jeter's last acting role before his death, and the film was thus dedicated to his memory.