MacGillivray Freeman Films has greenlit Return to Everest 3D, a follow-up to its 1998 hit, Everest.
The film is directed and produced by two-time Oscar nominee Greg MacGillivray; the original grossed $136 million.
Variety noted the production marks the first time the world's tallest mountain will be filmed in Imax 3D. Return to Everest will again star Jamling Norgay of Nepal and Araceli Segarra of Spain, who climbed the summit in 1996; the duo will return to assist the Nepalese Sherpa people whose livelihood depends on the mountain.
It will also follow a medical research expedition there to study the impact of extreme altitude on the human body and bring back the first blood and tissue samples taken at the 29,035-foot summit. The goal of the study is to improve treatment of critically ill intensive care patients whose low blood oxygen levels mirror those of climbers at high altitudes.
MacGillivray will lead the mountain unit stationed at Everest Base Camp, while co-director and director of mountain photography Michael Brown, who's climbed to Everest's summit three times, will lead the mountain unit following the medical team to the summit. Filmmakers will also attempt to shoot Everest's summit using a helicopter mounted with a Spacecam camera and plan to fit Sherpa climbers with helmet cams.
Return to Everest is scheduled for release in March 2009 as the company's eighth pic in its Great Adventure Film series.