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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Large Format Forum   » More IMAX BS, This time from the IMAX CEO

   
Author Topic: More IMAX BS, This time from the IMAX CEO
Mark Gulbrandsen
Resident Trollmaster

Posts: 15885
From: Bountiful, Utah
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 09-17-2008 01:08 PM      Profile for Mark Gulbrandsen   Email Mark Gulbrandsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
This guy has really lost it IMHO!

____________________________________

IMAX CEO: IMAX is not the "giant screen"

Richard Gelfond, co-CEO of Imax Corporation, told a meeting of IMAX
theater operators and filmmakers "we don't think of [the IMAX brand]
as the giant screen." Rather, he said, "it is the best immersive
experience on the planet." Speaking to the Giant Screen Cinema
Association in New York City on Sept. 10, he went on to say that
although the 76x98-foot (23x30-meter) screen of the AMC Lincoln
Square IMAX Theater in which he was standing was "phenomenal…it' s not
just this. It's the sound, it's the raking of the seats, it's the
color, it's the content…it's the way the images are captured, it's
the way they're projected, it's the sound system, it's the sum of all
parts."

This new position from the 40-year-old company that has used the
tagline "Think Big" for the last several years, coincides with the
rollout of its new digital projection system, intended to be
retrofitted into 35mm multiplex auditoriums. Imax has signed deals
for more than 170 digital theaters, about 50 of which are expected to
be installed by the end of the year. The screens in these houses will
be between 40 and 60 feet wide, averaging less than one-third the
area of the average film-based IMAX screen of 60 by 80 feet (18 by 24
meters).

The news was not well received by most of the 100 operators of IMAX
film-based theaters at-tending the meeting. GSCA chair Toby
Mensforth, who oversees the Smithsonian Institution' s three IMAX
theaters, told Gelfond that the company had "grossly underestimated"
the concerns of many of his colleagues at IMAX theaters in museums
and science centers. He asked Gelfond if the company would reconsider
branding the new screens, to differentiate them from the larger, film-
based venues.

Gelfond said he would listen to the industry's concerns, but "the
question of creating a different brand is really off the table." The
company's position is that all IMAX theaters, regardless of format or
screen size, provide "the IMAX Experience."

He said that in discussing the issue internally, Imax execs had
decided that branding the newer theaters as "digital," with its
connotations of newer and "cooler," might create the perception that
the older theaters were "second class citizens." Gelfond went on to
say that "Your customers are going to know that your screen is bigger
than someone else's and when the consumer decides whether they want
to go to your theater or another theater, that'll be one of the
factors they con-sider."

In a separate session, Imax's executive VP of theater development,
Larry O'Reilly, said that digi-tal system customers AMC Entertainment
and Regal Entertainment Group had initially asked for a separate
digital brand, but the company had talked them out of the idea.

After the meeting, giant-screen industry insiders expressed their
dissatisfaction with the news. Mark Bretherton, CEO of Australia's LG
IMAX Theatre Sydney, told LF Examiner that Imax could have
characterized the digital system as "IMAX quality in a new setting.
Tell consumers that, meet their expectations, and they will be happy.
Tell them they will have an IMAX experi-ence and then offer them
something below their expectations and they will feel cheated."

Another long-time theater manager who asked not to be identified
challenged the idea that the IMAX experience can be divorced from
giant screens. "If the size of the screen and the resolu-tion of the
image are taken out of the equation, that leaves stadium seating, six-
channel surround sound, and the occasional 3D. By these criteria,
Real D and Dolby are delivering the IMAX Ex-perience. "

Ed Lantz, an expert on digital planetariums who spoke at the
conference, said, "With regards to Imax's marketing strategy, they
have seemingly ignored the concerns of their existing theater cli-ent
base and [independent] producers by not clearly differentiating the
new digital systems from true 15/70…theaters, which have far greater
resolution than the new digital systems. This disre-gard for existing
stakeholders who essentially built the IMAX brand over the last
decades is a major PR blunder in my opinion, with extensive moral, if
not financial, repercussions. "

Gelfond also confirmed what LFX had previously speculated, that the
IMAX digital system is proprietary, and that any producer who wants
to distribute films to those theaters will have to go through Imax
Corporation for special processing and, presumably, permission. (This
is in con-trast to conventional digital cinema projectors, which use
open, non-proprietary standards.) Gel-fond said that the company had
decided to allow productions "captured on either 15/70 or 8/70 [film]
and…less than an hour" to obtain that processing at "minimal" cost.

Fred Ashman, producer of "Proud American," a 105-minute film shot in
15/70 and 35mm, told LFX, "Imax is assuming full vertical market
control of the digital screens, and will unilaterally decide what
movies get converted, played, when, what the costs will be. This is
very disturbing news for filmmakers and theaters."

Other News

The Blue Man Group has announced that it is planning to make a giant-
screen film with producer Charlotte Huggins. The 45-minute film will
not be based on the group's eccentric stage show, but will have a
storyline and will incorporate accurate scientific information about
the human brain, delivered with the group's trademark humor.

Also, following the lead of Chris Nolan, director of "The Dark
Knight," director Michael Bay is using IMAX cameras to shoot portions
of "Transformers 2," which is set for conventional and DMR release in
June 2009.

These and other stories, along with comprehensive coverage of all the
news and activities at the Giant Screen Cinema Association conference
last week, will appear in the October issue of LF Examiner.

--James Hyder
Editor/Publisher
LF Examiner
www.LFexaminer. com

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John Wilson
Film God

Posts: 5431
From: Sydney, Australia.
Registered: Dec 1999


 - posted 09-17-2008 03:37 PM      Profile for John Wilson   Email John Wilson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Mark Gulbrandsen
Gelfond said he would listen to the industry's concerns, but "the
question of creating a different brand is really off the table." The
company's position is that all IMAX theaters, regardless of format or
screen size, provide "the IMAX Experience."

[Roll Eyes]

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Brian Michael Weidemann
Expert cat molester

Posts: 944
From: Costa Mesa, CA United States
Registered: Feb 2004


 - posted 09-17-2008 04:25 PM      Profile for Brian Michael Weidemann   Author's Homepage   Email Brian Michael Weidemann   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The general population does not read press releases, is not privy to this stuff. When I hear anecdotally that someone went to see The Dark Knight in IMAX, at an MPX location, and then says, "I thought it was in IMAX, but the screen wasn't big, and I couldn't tell which were the 'IMAX parts'" ... it makes me very upset. They're not going to Google "IMAX" and research. They won't think twice about it, and their impression will thereafter be: "IMAX is just hype and I'm not going to pay for it again".

What's the benefit of repeating Nolan's stunt for Transformers 2? Not to mention that Bay probably won't use the cameras for aerial establishing shots, but close-up action instead.

What is "The IMAX Experience" if it is, by definition, "what you get when you see something in an IMAX auditorium"? It isn't hard to see the flaw there. So why assure people that "all IMAX theatres provide the IMAX experience"? This says absolutely nothing! (I'm thinking of an analogy to Star Wars. Lucas can't let the original Episode IV stand as the great thing it's heralded to be. He can always change it and, at the end of the day, claim it's Star Wars, because Star Wars is whatever he wants it to be. If CLONE WARS is where it goes, so be it. IMAX-MPX was Greedo-shoots-first, and IMAX-DIGITAL is Anakin-builds-C3P0.)

Personally, what IMAX forever meant to me was that it fills your peripheral vision. That was the trick, the key component, to the illusion of immersion. The high resolution film image just cinched it. Eliminate one, and then both of those ... then it's just a good quality show, at best.

In short, I think too many people know that these are solely financial decisions on IMAX's part (since building giant screen auditoriums is no longer--if it ever was--a lucrative business model), and it seems silly for them to pretend it's not. Meanwhile, we have little to do other than nitpick their statements. Isn't this fun?

The views, opinions, remarks, endorsements, etc. as indicated here and throughout the rest of my posts are my own; they do not, in any way, represent those of the various companies or organizations with which I may imply being associated, through such means including, but not necessarily limited to, current or past employment; nor do I speak on behalf of any such companies or organizations.

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Phil Hill
I love my cootie bug

Posts: 7595
From: Hollywood, CA USA
Registered: Mar 2000


 - posted 09-17-2008 04:41 PM      Profile for Phil Hill   Email Phil Hill       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Brian Michael Weidemann
The views, opinions, remarks, endorsements, etc. as indicated here and throughout the rest of my posts are my own; they do not, in any way, represent those of the various companies or organizations with which I may imply being associated, through such means including, but not necessarily limited to, current or past employment; nor do I speak on behalf of any such companies or organizations.
Brian, I LUV your disclaimer and will use it in all my furture porno film contracts... [beer] [thumbsup]

OBTW: I see IMAX has found a new way to f*ck over theatre and science center owners...I wonder how the theme parks that use 1570 will do in the IMAX digital CONversion?

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Louis Bornwasser
Film God

Posts: 4397
From: prospect ky usa
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 - posted 09-17-2008 08:34 PM      Profile for Louis Bornwasser   Author's Homepage   Email Louis Bornwasser   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Remember when we put 70mm/5 perf in all those little shooting galleries? The public, although startled by the clarity, lost the association 70mm had with large screen, road show IMPORTANT experience.

So it is going with the future of IMAX. Too bad! Louis

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Mark Gulbrandsen
Resident Trollmaster

Posts: 15885
From: Bountiful, Utah
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 09-17-2008 09:30 PM      Profile for Mark Gulbrandsen   Email Mark Gulbrandsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Sad that they are even going to "TRY" to control what plays on these screens... Makes me want to have a booth at Showest next year so that theater owners know there is an alternative to this ludicrous IMAX system that does the exact same thing and that you can play anything you want to play and not pay any rediclous royalties for a stupid system... and that it's all available mostly off the shelf.

Mark

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Andres Briano
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 162
From: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Registered: Jan 2008


 - posted 09-28-2008 06:39 PM      Profile for Andres Briano   Author's Homepage   Email Andres Briano   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Brian Michael Weidemann aka disclaimer guy
IMAX-MPX was Greedo-shoots-first, and IMAX-DIGITAL is Anakin-builds-C3P0
You couldn´t have said it better! [beer]

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Tristan Lane
Master Film Handler

Posts: 444
From: Nampa, Idaho
Registered: Feb 2002


 - posted 09-28-2008 09:15 PM      Profile for Tristan Lane   Email Tristan Lane   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Mark Gulbrandsen
The company's position is that all IMAX theaters, regardless of format or screen size, provide "the IMAX Experience."
Regardless of format or screen size? Aren't those the two major aspects of a theater that the IMAX brand are based on?

"IMAX Experience" simply cannot be provided on a 40-60 foot screen.

What is IMAX trying to do? Pretty soon these multiplex theaters will have know-it-all customers coming out of the auditorium and asking for the staff to "turn the IMAX on"

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Thomas Dieter
Expert Film Handler

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From: Yakima, WA
Registered: Jun 2004


 - posted 09-29-2008 12:07 AM      Profile for Thomas Dieter   Email Thomas Dieter   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Just like the rest of this industry, IMAX is going to swallow itself up. It seems to me that the CEO's of any company is no longer worried about the product that they are putting out, rather they are worried about their bottom line. They have sadly lost sight of the fact, their product is their bottom line. This will become another one of the demises of the depression of 2008.

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Pravin Ratnam
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 827
From: Atlanta, GA,USA
Registered: Sep 2002


 - posted 05-19-2009 09:23 PM      Profile for Pravin Ratnam   Email Pravin Ratnam   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
You know, I think IMAX deserves a class action lawsuit if they keep pissing off people.
Here is a funny take on the situation by Aziz Ansari( the guy in Parks and Recreation).
http://azizisbored.tumblr.com/post/106587114/reblog-the-fuck-out-of-this-warning-amc-theaters-are

And there is this item by Harry of AintitCool news that talks about the same issue and links us to Aziz's item.
Harry's article

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Bobby Henderson
"Ask me about Trajan."

Posts: 10539
From: Lawton, OK, USA
Registered: Apr 2001


 - posted 05-19-2009 09:43 PM      Profile for Bobby Henderson   Email Bobby Henderson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Discussion has already been going on with the "People are catching wise to IMAX MPX/Digital..." thread over in the "Straight To Video" forum.

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