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Author Topic: New IMAX System Unvailed
Bob Brown
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 146
From: Grand Rapids, MI
Registered: Apr 2002


 - posted 03-03-2003 01:05 PM      Profile for Bob Brown   Author's Homepage   Email Bob Brown   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
IMAX Unveils and Announces First Sale of New Theatre System Targeted to Multiplex Theatres

LAS VEGAS, Mar 3, 2003 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX/ --

Jack Loeks Theatres Becomes the First Commercial Exhibitor to Sign Deal to Install IMAX(R) MPX(TM) in a Suburban Multiplex
IMAX Corporation (Nasdaq: IMAX; TSE: IMX) announced today that it has officially launched its new large-format theatre system designed specifically for use in multiplex theatres. Known as IMAX(R) MPX(TM), this new lower cost system allows commercial exhibitors to add an IMAX(R) theatre to an existing multiplex or to retrofit two existing multiplex auditoriums into an IMAX theatre. The development advances the Company's commercial strategy and is expected to have a significant impact on the growth of the commercial IMAX theatre network. The Company also announced that Jack Loeks Theatres Inc. has signed an agreement for the new theatre system, making the exhibitor the first to order the IMAX MPX. The new theatre will be added as part of a multiplex and is expected to open by first quarter 2004.

IMAX MPX is a new, lighter and easier to use IMAX projection system with lower cost theatre geometries which should significantly reduce construction, installation, facility and operating costs. It will enable more commercial exhibitors to add IMAX theatres in a cost-effective manner and broaden the potential audience for IMAX films, including both Hollywood event films that have been digitally re-mastered into 15/70 format using the Company's proprietary IMAX(R) DMR(TM) technology, as well as traditional 2D and IMAX(R)3D films.

The announcement was made on the opening day of ShoWest, the largest annual convention for the motion picture industry, where both Richard L. Gelfond and Bradley J. Wechsler, co-Chairmen and co-CEOs of IMAX Corporation, will be speaking in front of over 500 motion picture professionals and theatre owners. Following the luncheon, IMAX has scheduled meetings with exhibitors from around the world for more detailed discussions about the new IMAX theatre system.

"IMAX MPX is a new system which should enable us to grow our network much more rapidly with commercial exhibitors," said Messrs. Gelfond and Wechsler. "We have removed many of the barriers to entry into the commercial IMAX theatre business and are confident that this will have a significant impact on the number of our theatre signings and installations, growing our business and positively impacting our financial performance. We are very pleased to have Jack Loeks Theatres Inc. as the first exhibitor to sign on for the IMAX MPX system. We are confident that this new system offers the best presentation in cinema and when combined with IMAX DMR films, will make IMAX theatres even more attractive as a new release window for major Hollywood event films."

"We have been extremely pleased with the performance of our existing IMAX theatre in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and are now thrilled to have a product that will enable us to bring IMAX to even more markets," added John D. Loeks, CEO, Jack Loeks Theatres, Inc. "The economics of adding IMAX theatres have been significantly improved, making the return on investment even more attractive, particularly in smaller markets. We are also incredibly excited about the potential of IMAX DMR and feel that this is the way that our customers will want to see event films. We strongly believe that the IMAX brand and The IMAX Experience(R) help to differentiate our multiplexes from our competitors."

In 2002, IMAX introduced its revolutionary proprietary IMAX DMR (Digital Re-mastering) technology, making it possible for virtually any 35mm live-action film to be transformed into the unparalleled image and sound quality of The IMAX Experience. The first two IMAX DMR films -- Apollo 13 The IMAX Experience and Star Wars(R): Episode II Attack of the Clones The IMAX Experience -- enjoyed highly acclaimed runs in IMAX theatres, serving to position the IMAX theatre network as a potential new release window for live-action event Hollywood films. The IMAX MPX system has the ability to significantly increase the size of that release window, enabling studios to attract new audiences and increase the overall box office for the title they are distributing.

The IMAX MPX projection system projects 15/70 film, the largest and clearest film format in the world, onto screens up to 70ft. x 44ft. that are curved and tilted forward to further immerse the audience. The theatres, which can seat up to 350 people, will utilize IMAX's proprietary sound system, comprised of multi-channel uncompressed 24bit digital audio. The projector is capable of playing both 2D (long version) and 3D films, and installs into a standard 35mm projection booth.

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Christian Appelt
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 502
From: Frankfurt, Germany
Registered: Dec 2001


 - posted 03-03-2003 05:41 PM      Profile for Christian Appelt   Email Christian Appelt   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I`d rather like to have good 5/70mm theatres and good 65/70mm photography. While I enjoy IMAX films now and then, I think it is wrong to make people think you need special large formats like 8/70 or 15/70 to get an overwhelming visual experience.

Would be nice to see some of the 70mm productions that have aged well (LAWRENCE, RYAN`S DAUGHTER, SPARTACUS, PATTON, 2001, EL CID and others) in new prints on modern Vision stock projected on huge IMAX screens and to hear the 6-track mixes on a powerful sound system.
Most IMAX films are beautiful but terribly boring, and I hate seeing footage that was not originated on large format processed to IMAX. For every decent IMAX movie like ACROSS THE SEA OF TIME or THE LAST BUFFALO there are a least ten really bad films like THE MAGIC BOX, so I see IMAX not very often (although I live only a few streets away from a theatre).

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Manny Knowles
"What are these things and WHY are they BLUE???"

Posts: 4247
From: Bloomington, IN, USA
Registered: Feb 2002


 - posted 03-03-2003 05:57 PM      Profile for Manny Knowles   Email Manny Knowles   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I agree with the idea that the 5/70 format is a more cost-effective solution. I know 5/70 has a lot of fans on this website as well as "out there." Now if only the studios would take an interest, we'd be on to a great format revival.

It was great to be living in Los Angeles, where 70mm screenings were a somewhat common occurrence. Although, as nice as it was to see a fresh 70mm print of "Lawrence of Arabia" or "2001: A Space Odyssey," I have to admit that it became a little tiresome to see only a handful of 70mm titles making the list of these seasonal comebacks.

It would be great to have current releases available in 70mm again.

[Please note the correct the spelling of "unveiled."]

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Bobby Henderson
"Ask me about Trajan."

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From: Lawton, OK, USA
Registered: Apr 2001


 - posted 03-03-2003 06:35 PM      Profile for Bobby Henderson   Email Bobby Henderson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
First, I'm glad to see IMAX is basing this new system on 15/70 format rather than dumbing it down to a cheaper 8/70 alternative.

I think we need to have growth in both the 5/70 and 15/70 markets. Both formats seem to serve somewhat different purposes.

Few 15/70 films are of feature length. Most top out at under 1 hour of playtime. With items like 3D, 1 hour of playtime is more than enough for an audience. Watching a 3D movie makes one's eyes do something unnatural (separate the focal plane from the convergence point) and that gives people headaches after about an hour. Anyway, to get back on topic, giant screen films have a niche pretty well separate from theatrical releases.

The 5/70 format is largely dead or at least comatose right now. And that is very wrong in light of the ever advancing quality of digital video. It may be a decade or two in the future, but we will see video storage mediums and display monitors that will show the flaws and limits to severely cropped 35mm source images as well as low-rez 2,000 line CGI plates. I see 65mm original photography as one of the few ways how Hollywood can future proof its product.

As far as making films for both giant screen venue and standard theatrial venues go, it would be nice if they could originate the movie in 15/70 and just crop in for a 5/70 extraction to do the theatrical release. The method could work. Look at all the movies being shot in Super35 these days. The only difference here is the image quality would be fantastic regardless of venue.

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Scott Norwood
Film God

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From: Boston, MA. USA (1774.21 miles northeast of Dallas)
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 - posted 03-03-2003 07:25 PM      Profile for Scott Norwood   Author's Homepage   Email Scott Norwood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Bobby--I'm pretty sure that the existing 15/70 cameras are too noisy for sync shooting, which is why you never see dialogue scenes in IMAX films. I agree that the idea of shooting in 15/70 and then making 5/70 and 4/35 reductions makes sense, but feature films would be difficult to shoot in that format without sync cameras.

For what it's worth, I think that one of IMAX's greatest advantages is its sound system. None of the standard 35mm systems (or even 5/70 mag SR) can compare with IMAX for the effect of power without distortion. Listen to the track for the Star Wars DMR release as an example of what the IMAX system is capable of.

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Joe Redifer
You need a beating today

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From: Denver, Colorado
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 - posted 03-03-2003 10:16 PM      Profile for Joe Redifer   Author's Homepage   Email Joe Redifer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
We have a theater going up that supposedly will have 4 or 5 IMAX screens. It is the UA/Regal Colorado Center. It is currently under construction. I wonder if it will all be 15/70?

Oh well... who cares? Most IMAX presentations bore me to tears. The 3D is extraordinarily awesome the first couple times you see it, but it also loses its gimmick rather quickly. Whoop dee doo! Also, does the aspect ratio really need to be that of a TV? They should make anamorphic IMAX and make the screen wider than it is tall, get gigantic 200 inch platters and play real movies. Not just shortened versions of movies that have been released in the past (Star Wars II, etc). IMAX can sound good, but I have never heard an IMAX presentation that blew me away. Maybe we only have wimpy ass IMAX projectionists who are afraid of the volume knob in Colorado. I'd like to hear what it can do.

This is why 5/70 really appeals to me. You can use it to show real movies. Long ones, too!

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Nicholas Roznovsky
Expert Film Handler

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From: College Station, TX, USA
Registered: Apr 2001


 - posted 03-03-2003 11:24 PM      Profile for Nicholas Roznovsky   Author's Homepage   Email Nicholas Roznovsky   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I don't get it. Yes, the sound is fabulous, but the real reason people pay to see IMAX is the screen size. If you slash half the height off of the IMAX screen, what's the draw for the average customer?

The incredible television aspect ratio? The higher admission prices? The wonderfully boring original IMAX films? The incredibly cropped conversions of non-IMAX films?

I've never really understood IMAX. It's a lot of flash, but little real substance. To sit in a position where the screen fills your entire horizontal field of view, there's no way you can see the top of the screen. If you're not sitting in the back third of the theater, so much for shots involving motion - they're just a giant blur as far as you're concerned. I'd much rather watch a 70mm or even 35mm film on a good 65-70 ft. wide screen any day.

Joe, I have to agree about Colorado IMAX. I went to see Attack Of The Clones down in the Springs in November and very disappointed in both the facility and the staff.

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Mark Gulbrandsen
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From: Bountiful, Utah
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 - posted 03-03-2003 11:30 PM      Profile for Mark Gulbrandsen   Email Mark Gulbrandsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
It juat appears to be a gasping attempt for this company to keep hold of the large format market. Lets face it....the way they are proposing to do this is NOT the way one should see a LARGE FORMAT film. To me it represents the type of move that could really kill LARGE FORMAT.
Now, if they would do some really good 5/70 and produce some meaningful feature length films, then thats another story!!
Mark

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Lionel Fouillen
Expert Film Handler

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From: Belgium
Registered: Nov 2002


 - posted 03-04-2003 01:40 AM      Profile for Lionel Fouillen   Email Lionel Fouillen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Yeah! It strikes me to see how the film industry, since the 1970's, always did its best to kill itself! [Mad] Let's shoot 65mm again and show it 5/70 along with DTS-ES!

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Christian Appelt
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 502
From: Frankfurt, Germany
Registered: Dec 2001


 - posted 03-04-2003 09:01 AM      Profile for Christian Appelt   Email Christian Appelt   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The main problem with IMAX (both flat and 3D) is the depth of field.
IMAX does what Cinerama did in one respect, it fills your field of vision. But this is not enough, because the human perception has a "virtually unlimited" depth of field. Our eyes focus so fast on any new point or plane of interest that we never experience "flat focus", unless you are short-sighted and take off your glasses. [Cool]

5/70 offers the best balance between image quality and depth of field, the difference to 35mm can be compensated by stopping down one step, and the format is already wide aspect ration and very effective with wide angle lenses (look at 1960 EXODUS as an example).

But making a movie without fiddling around digitally seems like an insult to modern filmmakers. [Roll Eyes] They should do animation so they`ll have "total control". George "Sony" Lucas finally had "total control" on Episode 2, did it make a good movie? [sleep]

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William Leland III
Master Film Handler

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From: Charleston, SC,
Registered: Aug 2002


 - posted 03-04-2003 05:30 PM      Profile for William Leland III   Author's Homepage   Email William Leland III   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Why is IMAX trying to conquer the multiplex theatres? I don't think this is a very well thought idea. Why would a patron pay $8 to see a 45 minute film on a smaller screen? When the 5 story version is available. Will IMAX put their new projection system in direct competition with other IMAX theatre's that are strictly Large Format? Will new theatres be built in the same towns that already have IMAX theatres?

From what Joe said the Regal is building 4 or 5 IMAX screens, how many operators will they need? I run one projector and I get worried sometimes, I couldn't imagine what a projectionist running 4 or 5 would feel like.

Does anyone have pic's of the IMAX MPX? I'm curious to see how small it is.

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Gordon McLeod
Film God

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From: Toronto Ontario Canada
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 - posted 03-04-2003 07:34 PM      Profile for Gordon McLeod   Email Gordon McLeod   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
There are several IMAX films that have been shot with sync location sound
China the Panda Adventure is one

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Aaron Haney
Master Film Handler

Posts: 265
From: Cupertino, CA, USA
Registered: Jan 2001


 - posted 03-05-2003 01:43 AM      Profile for Aaron Haney   Email Aaron Haney   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Why is IMAX trying to conquer the multiplex theatres? I don't think this is a very well thought idea.
It appears the IMAX corp. is currently run by businessmen who subscribe to the growth-at-all-costs mindset. Such people are not content to simply run a profitable business, they must constantly expand, expand, expand -- even at the cost of the company's core values.

What is the one thing the public associates with IMAX? The giant screen. Is it therefore a good idea to build theaters with the IMAX name but smaller screens? No, but they are doing it anyway, all in the name of growth and cost cutting. This will likely cheapen the IMAX brand.

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Scott Norwood
Film God

Posts: 7966
From: Boston, MA. USA (1774.21 miles northeast of Dallas)
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 03-05-2003 08:31 AM      Profile for Scott Norwood   Author's Homepage   Email Scott Norwood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Gordon--is there now a 15/70 sync camera? Or did the filmmakers have to build a huge blimp for it?

As I understand it, the lack of quiet modern cameras is also the reason why VistaVision (a great format) is used mostly for background plates and not for complete feature film production. Other than the old Mitchell cameras (which are big and heavy by modern standards), there aren't any quiet, crystal-sync VV cameras available. Too bad, as VV offers the advantages of super-35 (lots of extra headroom for easy TV transfers and the ability to use spherical lenses which are lighter and smaller than anamorphics), but without compromising image quality.

Anyway, I agree with the other posts here which say that this is probably a bad move for IMAX. It's a great format, but it depends upon the big screen in a purpose-built facility. Sound leakage would be a problem in a multiplex, too. Smaller venues would probably be better served with 8/70 (which probably doesn't look much different from 15/70 on a smaller screen) for shorter films or 5/70 mag or DTS for feature film blowups.

BTW, what's the advantage of an "easier to operate" IMAX projector? Current installations seem to do just fine with one (usually excellent) operator per screen...does anyone really expect that the $5/hour popcorn monkeys who run the rest of the multiplex will be able to run an IMAX booth, too?

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Mark Gulbrandsen
Resident Trollmaster

Posts: 16113
From: Bountiful, Utah
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 03-05-2003 09:23 AM      Profile for Mark Gulbrandsen   Email Mark Gulbrandsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Scott,
There are quite a few noisless VistaVision cameras out there. About 90% of the feature Roger Rabbit was shot i9n VV, as are many sequences in other films for later efects additions.
Mark

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