Thursday, May 21, 2009

Calling Shenanigans on Fake IMAX

I should've written about this sooner, but, well, I forgot. But now, since there is a new IMAX film opening this weekend (NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: BATTLE OF THE SMITHSONIAN), please allow me to present the following very troubling diagram that compares the IMAX screens at the Loews Lincoln Square and AMC Empire theatres here in NYC:

Quite a difference, right? The Lincoln Square screen is what should spring to mind when you hear the word "IMAX" -- a giant screen that offers a truly immersive movie-watching experience. But lately, more and more of these smaller IMAX screens have been cropping up, as theatre chains have realized that they can simply convert existing screens to IMAX-quality without actually increasing the size. Yes, you are still getting pristine picture & sound, which IMAX will now tell you is "technically" what they are all about. But if you ask me, the whole point of IMAX -- the real reason you'd want to spend upwards of $18.50 on your ticket, not to mention the company's main selling point for however-many years -- is so you can be blown away by the MASSIVE screen. Instead, theatres are now charging higher prices for something that is not that much better, quality-wise, than a regular digital presentation on a standard screen.

This, my friends, is BULLSHIT.

I've attended the Lincoln Square IMAX theatre many times over the years, and it never ceases to amaze me. I attended the AMC Empire IMAX theatre once, and will never go back again. I strongly urge everyone to check with your local IMAX theatre to make sure it is LEGIT before giving them your money. On a proper screen, IMAX is the most awesome movie experience available today -- it can make a bad movie watchable, a good movie great, and a great movie a veritable visual orgasm! But if the screen is not substantially bigger than usual, then it's just not worth the extra cost. Consider yourselves warned!


  1. Thanks. I'll keep that in mind.

    I've always wanted to see something at the IMAX, and now I know that they are not all the same. It seems like they are just using the label to attract attention. IMHO, there should be a difference, perhaps a secondary descriptor, like IMAX Quality, or IMAX Mini. IDK?

    How would I find out the size of the screen? Do I just call them?

  2. Yeah, they're basically watering down the IMAX label by slapping it on these mediocre screens. I read that they considered calling the smaller screens "IMAX Digital," which would've made sense, but then decided against it for some reason. I would imagine that you could just call the theatre and find out what their deal is. I don't know what NJ's IMAX situation is like, but hopefully there's a giant screen somewhere out there. If not, the Lincoln Square theatre is just a train ride (and a subway ride) away!

  3. I was shenaniganized by the AMC theater here in NJ.