Is IMAX still IMAX if it's not on a giant-sized, skyscraper-like screen? Last fall, the company introduced its new digital projection system, "intended to be retrofitted into 35mm multiplex auditoriums," reported LF Examiner. The screens are "less than one-third the area of the average film-based IMAX screen." The company maintains that it's not just the size of the screen that matters, it's their "revolutionary projection system, a powerful digital audio system and customized theatre geometry" that make up "The IMAX Experience." Operators of existing IMAX film-based theaters were reportedly not happy with the company's decision.
The issue was resurrected today by Nikki Finke of Deadline Hollywood Daily, who linked to a LF Examiner article from last October in which editor / publisher James Hyder provided a detailed analysis and a screen size comparison (see above). He concluded: "I object when anyone claims that two patently different things are the same. Where I come from that's known as 'lying.'"
The first time I walked into a giant IMAX theater at a museum years ago, it was freakin' impressive. More recently, I've been dazzled by the immersive experience of The Dark Knight in IMAX, and I'm hoping to see Star Trek again, this time in IMAX, before its limited two-week engagement ends. Many theater owners have made substantial investments to improve the moviegoing experience, and I'm willing to (selectively) pay more, as long as I know what to expect. If IMAX is charging a premium (up to $5.00) for "The IMAX Experience," shouldn't they differentiate between "the classic IMAX (film-based) experience" and "the newer, smaller IMAX (digitall) experience"? Have you bought tickets for an IMAX screening and then felt ripped off when you realized the screen was smaller than expected?