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From Mike Williamson, Burbank:
The writer is a filmmaker.
I tried to go see WATCHMEN in supposed "IMAX" today at a newly installed IMAX theatre here in my local BURBANK multiplex.
Below is the email I sent to IMAX after walking out a couple minutes in.
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Whoever is receiving this email, I encourage you to forward to the appropriate departments, including all top staff.
I just got back from the new IMAX in Burbank, CA and I have to say...THIS IS NOT IMAX!
As soon as I walked in the theatre, I was disgusted. This is NOT an IMAX screen. Simply extending a traditional multiplex screen to touch the sides and floor does NOT constitute an IMAX experience.
An IMAX screen is gargantuan. It is like looking at the side of a large building ,and it runs vertically in a pronounced way. It is NOT a traditional movie screen shape. A traditional multiplex theatre can not house a true IMAX screen without STRUCTURAL CONSTRUCTION to raise the ceilings, etc.
What I saw today was more like the European standard of 1:66-1. IMAX screens are constructed to be your ENTIRE field of view. This screen was PATHETIC by IMAX standards.
I understand in a movie like WATCHMEN, which is not shot in IMAX, that the image will be letterboxed on the screen. HOWEVER, for a movie like THE DARK NIGHT, specific scenes would NOT be able to be shown in the proper aspect ratio at this theatre. It would be CROPPED at the top and bottom. What's the point? Why would I pay extra for this???
Additionally, IMAX seating traditionally puts you IN the movie. The screen is so large that the seats loom ABOVE it, and close to the screen. You almost feel as if you are being DROPPED into the film. The "IMAX" (yes, I am putting quotes around it now) seating at the Burbank 16 has NOT changed one bit since it was just a regular multiplex!!!
A screen that's, oh, about 20% bigger than a standard multiplex theatre should NOT BE CALLED IMAX!!!!!! This is FALSE ADVERTISING.
When the show started, I lasted about 2 minutes before walking out and demanding a refund.
THE PROJECTION WAS DIGITAL!!! You think we can't tell the difference between digital projection and beautiful, crisp 70mm film?!!!? Guess what. We can. I don't care if you DO have two DLP projectors running simultaneously. It's not the same. Not by a long shot.
IMAX should be ashamed of itself as a company. Willfully downgrading itself to nothing more than a standard shit multiplex screen on a wee bit of steroids. Disgusting.
If this is the future of IMAX, then your company is heading towards a PALE shadow of itself. What once was a unique film going experience is now almost completely indiscernable from a regular multiplex screening.
Congrats guys. Paying too much attention to how to do things on the cheap just completely destroyed your company.
If it's NOT 70mm film. If it's NOT a giant square screen. If it's NOT seating which puts you in the center of the action...Then it's NOT IMAX.
I got my money back. I won't be tricked again. And I suggest you start informing customers in advance what is a TRUE IMAX presentation, and what is a shitty digital presentation on a kinda-bigger multiplex screen.
A former enthusiast,
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