Harry Potter is heading tothe really big screen. The third installment of Warner Bros' franchise,Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, will be released on Imax screens simultaneous with the conventional theatricalrelease in June 2004.

The decision is a vote ofconfidence from Warner Bros, in the wake of successful Imax releases this yearof the second and third films of the studio's Matrix franchise, Matrix Reloaded and Matrix: Revolutions. Revolutions was released day-and-date on Imax and conventional screens. The firsttwo Potter titles had a combined worldwide gross of over $1.9bn.

Describing theImax partnership as "extremely rewarding", Warner Bros. president of domesticdistribution Dan Fellman said in a statement that the studio is considering anImax 3D release of Robert Zemeckis' Christmas animated feature Polar Express in November 2004, and an Imax DMRrelease of Tim Burton's remake of the Roald Dahl classic Charlie And TheChocolate Factory in thesummer of 2005. DMR is the process whereby conventional films are convertedinto the Imax domain.

"Imax hasallowed our films to expand their reach beyond our traditional audiences byoffering viewers a whole new way to see Hollywood event films that is uniquelyimmersive and exciting,' said Fellman. He said the Potter film lendsitself beautifully to Imax's format and will play throughout the IMAX theatrenetwork. David Heyman, producer of the Harry Potter film series, seconded themotion. 'When Alfonso Cuaron,the film's director, and I saw Imax DMR, we knew we had to release this film inImax."

In March 2004,the studio and Imax are distributing the first-ever 3-D motorsports film, NASCAR3D: The Imax Experience.