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.