HBO Canada presents the highly anticipated epic HBO miniseries, The Pacific

    
    -   Premieres Sunday, March 14 at 9 p.m. ET/MT, day-and-date with HBO in
        the U.S.

    -   From executive producers Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg and Gary
        Goetzman, the Emmy(R)-winning team behind Band of Brothers

    -   Free sampling opportunity begins on March 15
    

TORONTO, Feb. 4 /CNW/ - From the team behind HBO's Band of Brothers and based on the true stories of Marines in the Pacific Theater of the Second World War, HBO Canada, a multiplex channel of Corus Entertainment's Movie Central (Western Canada) and Astral Media's The Movie Network (Eastern Canada), presents the epic ten-part miniseries event, The Pacific, premiering day-and-date with HBO on Sunday, March 14 at 9 p.m. ET/MT.

The Pacific tracks the intertwined odysseys of three U.S. Marines - Robert Leckie, Eugene Sledge and John Basilone - across the vast canvas of the Pacific Theater during the Second World War. The miniseries follows these men and their fellow Marines from their first battle with the Japanese on Guadalcanal, through the rain forests of Cape Gloucester and the strongholds of Peleliu, across the bloody sands of Iwo Jima and through the horror of Okinawa, and finally to their triumphant but uneasy return home after V-J Day.

Based in part on the books Helmet for My Pillow by Leckie, and With the Old Breed by Sledge, with additional material from Red Blood, Black Sand by Chuck Tatum and China Marine by Sledge, as well as original interviews conducted by the filmmakers, The Pacific takes an unflinching look at the experiences of these men and their brothers in arms, each of whom finds himself fighting for his life on faraway specks of land they had never heard of. Forced to endure extreme deprivation and debilitating climate, while fighting a brutal enemy who would rather die than surrender, these Marines are driven to the brink of humanity.

Starring James Badge Dale, Joe Mazzello and Jon Seda, as well as Canadian actors Scott Gibson, and Brendan Fletcher, this HBO miniseries presentation of a Playtone and DreamWorks Production is executive produced by Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg and Gary Goetzman, while Canadian screenwriter Graham Yost is co-executive producer and director (Part Four). Canada's Jeremy Podeswa is director of Part Three and Part Ten, and co-director of Part Eight.

Principal photography for the miniseries was completed on location in Australia's Far North Queensland and Victoria over a ten-month period beginning in August 2007.

    
    ABOUT THE STORY
    ---------------
    

On December 8, 1941, just over 24 hours after the Japanese surprise attack on the U.S. Naval Base at Pearl Harbour, U.S. Congress issued a formal declaration of war against the Empire of Japan. For a decade, tensions had been mounting between Japan and the U.S., as the Japanese expanded their conquest of a large region including much of China and Southeast Asia. As a result of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the United States officially entered the Second World War, already in its third year of being waged by countries of the Allied powers, including the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, China, Canada and Australia, against the Axis powers of Japan, Germany and Italy.

Practically overnight, military recruiting offices across the country were jammed, as thousands of Americans rushed to enlist in the armed forces. Many of those young men chose to join the Marine Corps, which saw its ranks more than triple in the six months following Pearl Harbor.

While HBO's miniseries Band of Brothers followed the experiences of one company of Army paratroopers in the European Theater of World War II, The Pacific depicts the war a world away in the Pacific Theater of Operations, which encompassed most of the Pacific Ocean and its islands, including the Philippines, the Netherlands East Indies, New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. This miniseries follows the intersecting odysseys of three men of the 1st Marine Division, an infantry division nicknamed "The Old Breed" for its position as the oldest and largest active duty division of the U.S. Marine Corps. With the support of their fellow Marines and comrades in the Navy, Air Force and Army, the 1st Marine Division was at the forefront of many of the hardest-fought campaigns of the Pacific War.

    
    SAMPLING OPPORTUNITY
    --------------------
    

Following the series premiere, the first episode of The Pacific will be available from March 15 to March 21 free-of-charge to non-subscribers through the video on demand services of participating cable providers. In Western Canada, participating cable and telco providers include: Shaw Communications, Westman Communications Group, SaskTel, NorthwesTel, Access Communications and MTS Allstream. In Eastern Canada, participating cable providers include: Rogers Cable, Cogeco Cable, EastLink Cable, Source Cable, Seaside Cable, Compton Cable, Execulink Cable, Wightman Cable, Mitchell Seaforth Cable and Kincardine Cable.

The Pacific will be simulcast on HBO Canada HD, and will be available on demand. The first episode will also be available on The Movie Network OnLine with Bell TV following its network premiere.

HBO Canada is a multiplex channel offered by Astral Media's The Movie Network (Eastern Canada) and Corus Entertainment's Movie Central (Western Canada). HBO Canada brings Canadians the current slate of signature dramatic programs for which HBO is known, together with new and never-before-seen programming including comedy series, live specials, sporting events, behind-the-scenes content and titles from HBO's extensive library - all in an uncut and commercial-free environment. HBO Canada is offered in high definition on HBO Canada HD and programming is accessible on demand where available by service provider. For more information, please visit www.hbocanada.com.

The Movie Network is an Astral Media Television Network. Astral Media is a leading Canadian media company, active in specialty and pay television, radio, outdoor advertising and interactive media. Astral Media's solid and dynamic presence in the country's major markets rests on its commitment to offer a unique combination of high-quality, targeted media for all its audiences. For more information about Astral Media, please visit www.astralmedia.com.

Movie Central is owned by Corus Entertainment Inc. (CJR.B/CJR), a Canadian-based media and entertainment company. Corus is a market leader in specialty television and radio with additional assets in pay television, advertising services, television broadcasting, children's book publishing and children's animation.

For access to The Movie Network's media room or Movie Central's press site, please visit http://tv.astral.com or http://mediacentre.corusent.com.

SOURCE Movie Central

For further information: For further information: Media contacts: Movie Central (Western Canada), Owen McCorquodale, (416) 530-2249, Owen.McCorquodale@corusent.com; The Movie Network (Eastern Canada), Nicolle Balen, (416) 956-8638, nbalen@tv.astral.com

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