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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Large Format Forum   » IMAX Signs contracts for up to 20 new screens (Page 1)

 
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Author Topic: IMAX Signs contracts for up to 20 new screens
Will Currie
Film Handler

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From: WINTER PARK, FL, USA
Registered: Jul 2004


 - posted 08-09-2004 08:46 AM      Profile for Will Currie     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
IMAX reported that they signed contracts for 6 MPX systems with National Amusements (4 open in time for Polar Express), and 2 with Cinemark. It looks like DMR and MPX are starting to catch on.

I've heard people saying that IMAX is hurting the integrity of large format, but I don't see how. In my mind... the more successful IMAX is with DMR and MPX the better it is for the industry.

From IMAX's earnings release-

HIGHLIGHTS ---------- - Company signs multi-theatre deals with two of the top ten North American exhibitors, boosting commercial growth strategy; deals to increase total number of domestic multiplexes with an IMAX theatre by over 20%. - National Amusements signs six-theatre deal with option to expand to as many as eighteen. - Cinemark USA signs contract for two IMAX(R) MPX(TM) theatre installations. - Current IMAX DMR(R) releases of Warner Bros. Pictures' Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and Columbia Pictures' Spider-Man 2 have strong box office performances. - Company reports earnings of $0.04 per share, in-line with management guidance.

What do you guys think?

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Gordon McLeod
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From: Toronto Ontario Canada
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 - posted 08-09-2004 11:51 AM      Profile for Gordon McLeod   Email Gordon McLeod   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hmm sounds like they are jumping the gun a bit last I heard the autoshredd (thread) MPX projector still had hmm "Issues"

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Will Currie
Film Handler

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From: WINTER PARK, FL, USA
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 - posted 08-09-2004 07:04 PM      Profile for Will Currie     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
When did you hear that? I have a hard time believing they still are having issues at this point. They already have one system installed in spain. MPX has been on the market nearly a year.

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Daryl C. W. O'Shea
Film God

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From: Midland Ontario Canada (where Panavision & IMAX lenses come from)
Registered: Jun 2002


 - posted 08-09-2004 07:55 PM      Profile for Daryl C. W. O'Shea   Author's Homepage   Email Daryl C. W. O'Shea   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hard to believe, not at all. It just means that they're well known issues. Just look at the problems with DTAC.

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Gordon McLeod
Film God

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From: Toronto Ontario Canada
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 - posted 08-09-2004 09:40 PM      Profile for Gordon McLeod   Email Gordon McLeod   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
"When did you hear that? I have a hard time believing they still are having issues at this point. They already have one system installed in spain. MPX has been on the market nearly a year. "
A little bird told me otherwise there are none running yet that I know of

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Bob Brown
Expert Film Handler

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From: Grand Rapids, MI
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 - posted 08-10-2004 12:52 PM      Profile for Bob Brown   Author's Homepage   Email Bob Brown   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
From the IMAX website 07/19/2004

2004/6/18 - Oviedo, Spain

On June 18, 2004 the first commercial multiplex IMAX® theatre in Spain opened to the public in Oviedo. The IMAX® Yelmo Cineplex Theatre is part of the multiplex and is located in the Los Prados mall. Yelmo Cineplex is the first commercial exhibitor in Spain to operate IMAX theatres out of its multiplexes.

System Type: IMAX® MPXTM

Seat Capacity: 346

Screen Size: Width 20.6m x 12m Height

Address:
IMAX® Yelmo Cineplex - Los Prados
Fernandez Ladreda, s/n
Antigua Parcela Matadero
33010 Oviedo - Asturias, Spain

:http://www.imax-yelmocineplex.com/

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Dick Vaughan
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From: Bradford, West Yorkshire, UK
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 - posted 08-16-2004 04:58 AM      Profile for Dick Vaughan   Author's Homepage   Email Dick Vaughan   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Yes it is actually installed in Spain and has run/is running shows however I have also heard that there are teething problems.
It's what you expect with any new product.You have to be up and running for a while in a number of locations before you start to beat all the glitches.
Just ask John Walsh about the Maverick machines

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Gordon McLeod
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 - posted 08-16-2004 02:50 PM      Profile for Gordon McLeod   Email Gordon McLeod   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
"however I have also heard that there are teething problems."
Teething problems usually relate to teeth and eating and I wonder what this projector is eating for lunch [Big Grin]

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Brian Michael Weidemann
Expert cat molester

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From: Costa Mesa, CA United States
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 - posted 08-16-2004 03:49 PM      Profile for Brian Michael Weidemann   Author's Homepage   Email Brian Michael Weidemann   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The teeth would be the registration pins, and they haven't fully grown in. So, unable to keep a loop, my guess is the projector is eating prints of Harry Potter. Add trailers to taste. With a healthy four or five meals a day, the MPX will grow up big and strong. (But the cost of feeding it will cost a pretty penny!)

quote: "IMAX reports"
4 open in time for Polar Express
The MPX is not a 3D system, correct? So I imagine that these theatres would just play it in 2D, like the rest of the 35mm Polar Express that will be in distribution. Sounds good! I, for one, wouldn't want to sit through 90+ minutes with 3D glasses on, and even less so with the weighty headsets that used to be used.

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Robert Stawiarski
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From: MW
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 - posted 08-16-2004 07:33 PM      Profile for Robert Stawiarski     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The MPX projector is 3D capable.

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Bobby Henderson
"Ask me about Trajan."

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 - posted 08-26-2004 10:38 PM      Profile for Bobby Henderson   Email Bobby Henderson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Has Cinemark made any specific announcements on where their two MPX installations would be located?

I imagine there would be a slim-to-none chance for the existing Tinseltown in Oklahoma City or the future 16-plex in Wichita Falls to get either system. Still, it would be nice to be able to drive less than 200 miles to see a movie in IMAX 3D.

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Dick Vaughan
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 - posted 09-03-2004 10:44 AM      Profile for Dick Vaughan   Author's Homepage   Email Dick Vaughan   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Posted today by the journalist on 1570.com. The online version of Hartford Coutant requires registration

quote:
Posted on Friday, September 03, 2004 - 10:56 am:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Will Buckland Screen Truly Be The (I)MAX?
By LARRY WILLIAMS
Courant Staff Writer

September 3 2004

Back in the 1970s, there was a theater in Vernon with the smallest screen that any of its customers had ever seen. Before the lights went down, that's what everybody talked about. But when the movie started, it was quickly forgotten.

In that theater, about the size of a dining room, it didn't take a big screen to present a big picture.

That's the principle underlying the recently announced plan to open an IMAX giant-screen theater at Showcase Cinemas Buckland Hills, installing it in an existing auditorium that seems nowhere near big enough.

Scheduled to open Nov. 10, it will be one of the first theaters in the nation to use IMAX's new MPX projection system, which the Canadian company hopes will lead to an IMAX explosion at multiplexes worldwide. It's the first system engineered to fit into a multiplex auditorium, and to run without need of a specially trained IMAX projectionist.

The size of the screen has not been determined but will probably be about 75 percent larger than the 17- by 40-foot screen there now, said Jennifer Hanson, spokeswoman for National Amusements Inc., the theater owner.

At 1,190 square feet, that would make it less than half the size of the 40- by 66-foot screen at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, which is one of the smaller IMAX screens around. The Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk has a 64- by 76-foot screen. There's a 75- by 97-foot behemoth at the Loews Cineplex Lincoln Square in New York. The GigaVision giant screen at Hartford's Crown Palace and Odyssey is 50 feet by 70 feet.

The question is: At what point in the downsizing process does IMAX devolve into "mini-MAX"? Will audiences who've seen IMAX movies elsewhere accept the smaller version as the real deal - what the company calls "The IMAX Experience"?

"There's no question that this product has all of the `Wow!' of IMAX," said Richard Gelfond, co-CEO of IMAX. It's not the size of the screen alone, he said, but "the relationship between the seats and the screen, the way it is projected and the sound in relation to the viewer" that combine to create the sensation of immersion that is the signature of IMAX.

"That's that feeling you get when you're sitting in an IMAX theater and you realize there is more picture than you can see," said Steve Laninga, IMAX sales manager for Celebration! Cinemas, which opened the nation's first MPX-design theater in Lansing, Mich., last fall.

He says the new system is as good as the old, if not better. "Everybody is right up next to the screen. You're getting an eyeful," Laninga said.

But the Lansing screen is 44 feet high by 70 feet wide, for 3,080 square feet, much larger than the likely Buckland Hills screen. On the other hand, the Buckland Hills screen will have a smaller audience to immerse - about 260, compared with 320 in Lansing.

The shrinking screen is not the only change that makes IMAX possible at Buckland Hills without gutting and rebuilding an auditorium. The other big difference is in the projection booth, where the original IMAX projector would not have fit.

Like nearly everything in the computer age, projection equipment has gotten better and, in the process, smaller. With vastly improved lenses, the IMAX projector no longer requires a gigantic 15,000-watt, water-cooled lamp, Laninga said.

"They've gotten more and more light to the screen as the years have gone by," he said. "The whole thing is about light on the screen, not light in the lamphouse."

The MPX system also is more in line with what multiplex operators are used to - a projector that runs itself. Everything is operated from a single control panel. It has an automatic film loader and self-diagnostic features that warn of potential problems.

"We know if belts are starting to wear down," Gelfond said. "Before, we had to wait for a belt to break. It's really a step forward." IMAX technicians can even make virtual house calls, he said, by "dialing in" to an MPX projector from Toronto.

What hasn't changed is the film, each frame measuring 2 inches high by 23/4 inches wide - 10 times bigger than a frame of 35mm film, with a corresponding difference in picture quality. IMAX "images are brighter, sharper and steadier than those produced by any other projection system," the company says.

The specially designed 14,000-watt, six-channel sound system also is the same as in other IMAX theaters.

"The MPX is designed to give a really good show to about 300 people," Laninga said. "I frankly prefer it to our [other IMAX] theater in Grand Rapids for overall enjoyment, especially of these DMR Hollywood films."

DMR, a trade name for digital remastering, is another IMAX initiative to extend its reach into the multiplex world. IMAX developed the process to enhance and enlarge 35mm films for the big screen. "Spider-Man 2" and "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" are now showing on IMAX screens, even at museums and science centers.

IMAX and National Amusements expect to open the Buckland Hills theater with "The Polar Express," a computer-animated feature based on the popular children's book. It's the first Hollywood movie to open in IMAX 3D on the same day it opens in regular theaters.

Hartford already has a large-format theater in Crown Palace's Odyssey, but it uses a different technology, GigaVision. The screen is IMAX-size, but the film is half the size. Thus the Odyssey cannot show IMAX films, or films in IMAX 3D. Although many big-screen movies are released in both formats, many more are not. Lately, the Odyssey has been showing 35mm films.

The success of Buckland Hills and other MPX installations is crucial if IMAX is to grow from 240 theaters worldwide to thousands of theaters, said James Hyder, editor of LF [Large Format] Examiner, a trade paper.

"Most of the [company's] profits come from the leasing of new theater systems," he said. "There is something on the order of 30,000 conventional 35mm screens in this country, and 180 or so IMAX screens, so clearly the multiplex chains present a potential market."

Until now, growth in the multiplex world has been glacier-like, given the high cost of building and operating an IMAX theater.

Gelfond said an MPX installation will cost about $1.5 million, about one third the cost of the last generation of IMAX projector, which also fit into a 35mm booth, but required a trained IMAX projectionist on duty at all times.

There's been some grousing by IMAX projectionists on Internet message boards about the risks of leaving IMAX projection in the hands of "popcorn kids."

Hyder said that's a legitimate issue. "This is supposed to be the best quality projection system in the world. That has been a hallmark of IMAX projection for 35 years," he said. "Lowering the cost by making projectionists less involved is, at least theoretically, a problem."
Copyright 2004, Hartford Courant







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

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 - posted 09-03-2004 12:15 PM      Profile for Manny Knowles   Email Manny Knowles   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Personally, I think this is a mistake. Until recently, IMAX has positioned itself as being a very different product in comparison to traditional movie theatres. The move into multiplexes and, now, the implementation of DMR and MPX technologies suggest that IMAX is either unable to sustain itself by remaining "different" and/or the company has become greedy.

The product is bound to suffer. Despite whatever claims may have been made, there were NOTICEABLE artifacts in the APOLLO 13 blowup. And, let's not forget, the IMAX version differed from the original in both running time and aspect ratio. And even with a trained IMAX projectionist, the sound was out of sync.

Now they want to compromise the size of the screen and operator expertise?

Place your bets: How many days til doomsday?

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Scott Norwood
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 - posted 09-03-2004 02:34 PM      Profile for Scott Norwood   Author's Homepage   Email Scott Norwood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Good to see that Manny remains the eternal optimist! [Smile]

My initial reaction to DMR was that it wouldn't succeed, because a) I didn't think that the results would look very good and because b) the public isn't exactly clamoring for improved image quality for theatrical films (else, why haven't there been 5/70 prints of recent titles?). When I saw it, I was actually somewhat impressed, particularly by the sound quality improvements over what is currently available for 35mm. Now, I think that DMR is a Good Thing (tm) as a supplement to 15/70-originiated films, although I would hate to see IMAX turn most of its attention to DMR "blowups" and ignore their mainstay (educational and documentary programming).

My initial reaction to MPX is that it "cheapens" the IMAX brand name by diluting the pool of truly high-quality IMAX venues by adding converted multiplexes. I also think that there are cheaper ways (8/70, 5/70) of providing high quality images on smaller screens.

It will be interesting to see what happens at any rate. For the sake of IMAX and 15/70 in general, I hope that they can find a successful business model with growth potential for large-format presentations.

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Mark Gulbrandsen
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 - posted 09-04-2004 07:50 AM      Profile for Mark Gulbrandsen   Email Mark Gulbrandsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
"My initial reaction to MPX is that it "cheapens" the IMAX brand name by diluting the pool of truly high-quality IMAX venues by adding converted multiplexes. I also think that there are cheaper ways (8/70, 5/70) of providing high quality images on smaller screens."

You're right and they are attempting all this with unproven equipment to boot. Thats why there is a Cinema Development Company and a Megasystems selling royalty free alternative
equipment that is already time proven.

"Place your bets: How many days til doomsday?"

Not too long if the new equipment includes the problem plagued DTAC system and provides dimly lit images as afforded by the SR projector. Even sooner unless Inax gets a grip on its money vacuum department.

Mark

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