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Is IMAX Cheating Patrons? Some Believe So

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With increasing frequency, summer blockbusters are being released in both traditional and IMAX format.  Long known for its excellent sound quality, picture, and massive screen — a traditional IMAX screen is approximately 52 feet by 72 feet — IMAX has recently found its way into far more multiplexes.  This has allowed for increased exposure and box office take, this past weekend, the Star Trek reboot helmed by J.J. Abrams managed to break opening weekend IMAX box office records.  However, all is not well in IMAX-land.

One of the reasons that the number of IMAX screens has expanded dramatically of late is because — according to some — they're not really IMAX screens.  Again, sizes vary, but a typical IMAX in a multiplex is approximately 28 feet by 58 feet.  Despite the substantial difference in size, IMAX screens at the local multiplex still garner premium prices without ever advertising the greatly reduced screen size.

This lack of information has caused some to be more than a little perturbed by what they feel to be false advertising.  Most recently, Aziz Ansari (one of the stars of NBC's just renewed Parks and Recreation) has blogged about his upset more than once.  The chief Executive of IMAX, Richard Gelfond, has stated "There's no indication at all that the word of mouth is anything but positive."  That sentiment seems greatly at odds with Ansari's posts and the feelings of many of Ansari's commenters, but Gelfond still insists that there will be no rebranding of these smaller screens as they still have the "wow!" factor.

Ansari is not the first person to bring up the issue, but he is the most recent and, as a celebrity, may be able to bring added attention to the debate. 

Should IMAX rebrand these smaller screeners or charge less of a premium price?  We'd love your opinion.

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About Josh Lasser

Josh has deftly segued from a life of being pre-med to film school to television production to writing about the media in general. And by 'deftly' he means with agonizing second thoughts and the formation of an ulcer.
  • http://jetsgaypride.blogspot.com/ Jet Gardner

    I was reading an article on this subject a couple of days ago, so I called my local theater because I wanted to see Star Trek again only in IMAX next time. Because of the issues you cover here and elsewhere, the’ve renamed it “Digital” instead.

    Good heads up there Josh!

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    IMAX and Digital Projection are two different things

  • G. Reilly

    I went to see Star Trek in IMAX and was surprised by the $12 ticket price. THe big surprise wast the screen size. It was not much bigger then the regular screen. What a rip off. Now I know that “IMAX” means the ticket price “IMIN” means the screen size.

  • PixFixTony

    I was a bit miffed at the $14 price tag & was dissapointed in the Regal 16 Theater chain in Lacey,Washington. Granted I could have driven up to Seattle & made the day of it. This is a cut & paste from the World’s Fair Class Seattle Science Center.There prices start at $12 for the movie & all other venues.The Boeing IMAX Theater gives you a filmgoing experience like no other! See the power of IMAX® on a screen six stories high and 80 feet wide, with 12,000 watts of stereo sound. Our 3D films take advantage of our state-of-the-art IMAX 3D® technology, putting you right in the action. The 405-seat theater features colorful, comfortable seating, a full-service concession stand, and a staff trained to make your IMAX experience great.