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The Digital Imax backlash

Posted at 1:52 PM on May 26, 2009 by Euan Kerr (1 Comments)

So.... it seems there is a difference.

After the recent posting about the new IMAX theater at Rosedale ANC a couple of people commented on how it's a much smaller IMAX experience, and the projectors are digital as opposed to film. Thanks to Daniel Getahun for this explainer which has a very good graphic to explain the difference in screen size.

And now Variety is reporting IMAX is taking a lot of flack for charging a premium on tickets for what is not a markedly different experience.

The piece quotes Imax CEO Rich Gelfond:

"'We are going to do something (about the complaints). We hear the people.'

But as yet he isn't sure what. He says they're not yet sure what portion of their customers are actually unhappy. They're planning a further customer survey and will decide what to do after they see the results.

The Variety piece continues that the issue is not likely to go away, and that a great deal of it depends on how you define Imax. The public clearly hears Imax and thinks "giant screen," while the company thinks "immersive experience."

The article continues: "Imax plans to expand to 400 U.S. screens by 2010, mostly by moving into preexisting multiplexes. But unlike the giant screens seen in museums and specially built commercial venues such as Universal Citywalk, the newer installations use a 1.9:1 aspect ratio instead of the 1.43:1 aspect ratio of the old Imax screens and a pair of 2K digital projectors instead of a super-high-resolution 15/70 film print, which brings the cost of Imax within reach of many more theaters."

So there will be many more Imax theaters, but the debate will continue whether they are really Imax.

Comments (1)

Thanks, Euan, but truth be told I was simply passing on information I got from another blog complaining about this issue a couple weeks ago.

"He says they're not yet sure what portion of their customers are actually unhappy." In other words, "We don't think most people know they're being fleeced, so we'll just continue to charge them $4 extra and assume they're fine with it."

Ugh. Fortunately I think (hope?) movie fans will ultimately reject these moves. If the corporate tycoons succeed, however, they should at least call it mini-IMAX or something. Or just invest in the real thing. It would be great to not have to go to Apple Valley for that experience.

Posted by Daniel | May 26, 2009 4:43 PM

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