I’ve never really been a big fan of movie theaters, and I’ve never been afraid to express this opinion. Mainly because the comforts of home and the ability to pause a movie are much more appealing than watching a movie with a group of strangers on someone else’s schedule.
But recently I found out that there was something that could convince me that a trip to the theater was worth it, provided the circumstances were right. This is the kind of thing I can’t have at home: the IMAX experience
IMAX is the right kind of gimmick to put your butt in the seats
Movie theaters have always had an uphill battle attracting people when the allure of home viewing is all too real. Whether we’re talking about Cinerama in the 1950s or modern 4DX theaters trying to turn your viewing experience into a half-baked merry-go-round. Because these are all things that are totally impractical in the majority of salons.
And it’s not just the fancy viewings, either. At my two nearest cinemas, one only charges Â£ 5 ($ 7) for an adult ticket, while the other has soft leather reclining chairs and legroom that would make a blush blush. CEO of airline. Presumably, the idea is that the best way to get butt in the seats is to appeal to what people want: low prices and the kind of comforts they might not have at home. .
And it worked. Back in the days when I lived within walking distance of the theater and didn’t have to worry about parking or traffic, I went to the theater on a whim. I even saw Rampage, which was absolutely not a good movie, but that didn’t matter. I had no plans and the ticket only cost me Â£ 5.
But that was before Covid, and these days it takes a lot more to get me out of the house and into a room with dozens of other people. Aside from the latest comic book movies like The suicide squad Where Shang Chi and the legend of the ten rings, the only thing I realized will help me get out of the home theater is an IMAX theater.
I realized that this is not an entirely new development either. Back in the days of 2009, I avoided seeing Avatar when it came out because I decided I wanted to see it in IMAX. Overall the movie was selling itself as a visual spectacle and I thought IMAX was the way to go. I just had to wait a few weeks for the Christmas holidays, where I would stay with my parents and have access to a car.
Certainly in the years since I haven’t had such a good experience with IMAX. Suffering from the horrific blurry 3D conversion attempted by the latest Harry Potter film, doing my best to see the snoozefest that was Marvel TV’s Inhumans, or a slightly awkward date that was only made awkward by the fact that Gemini Man exists.
The bigger the better, and Dune proved it on IMAX
Dune is a prime example. Because HBO Max is not available in this country, my only legal options were to see it in a movie theater or wait for it to arrive through the usual home distribution channels. Frankly? I could have waited. I read the book, so I couldn’t spoil the movie, and we have to wait at least two years for the rest of the story anyway.
But one of Dune’s biggest draws was the spectacle, and I figured my TV – beautiful as it was – wouldn’t be the same as a real IMAX theater. Mainly because IMAX displays are tall, 52 feet tall, on average, and 72 feet wide – or a little over three and a half stories tall if that helps you visualize it more clearly. It’s bigger than my lodge, not to mention my TV screen.
IMAX also has the added benefit of a higher aspect ratio: 1: 90: 1 in most multiplexes. That’s bigger than the 16: 9 ratio on your TV and the 2: 4: 1 offered by standard movie screens. And Dune takes the ratio even higher, with a maximum aspect ratio of 1.43: 1 on IMAX Laser presentations (the best IMAXs). Naturally, this means that movie scenes shot with IMAX cameras have more to show, which Denis Villeneuve took advantage of in his latest blockbuster.
After all, Dune is an epic tale that’s very location-specific, and being able to see as many Arrakis as possible helps you get a feel for how desolate a planet is. But there’s a lot going on in Dune’s IMAX scenes as well, to the point where I wondered how the editor was going to crop the image while including all the important elements.
It’s to the point where I would say Villeneuve shouldn’t have encouraged people to ditch HBO Max and watch the movie in theaters. He should have insisted that people go see him in IMAX instead. I’m not the only one to have this opinion either, since Tom’s Guide Streaming Editor Henry T Casey admitted he should have seen the movie in IMAX first He has since seen the film on IMAX and confirmed his suspicions.
While my seat choice meant I was a bit too close to one of the speakers (which sometimes hurt my ears), I enjoyed the experience much more than watching The Suicide Squad. . I actually booked a ticket to see Marvel’s Eternals, which was also filmed with IMAX in mind, almost as soon as I got home.
It helps that Chloe Zhao is a very visual director, and Eternals promises to have a lot of the same great visual pieces that make Dune in IMAX so appealing. Zhao same recently admitted that Denis Villeneuve helped her with the IMAX parts of the film.
Even with the downsides of IMAX, it’s still worth it
Obviously, all the advantages of seeing a movie in IMAX can also work against it. The fact that they are a specialty type of cinema means that they are nowhere near as widespread as regular cinemas. Your chances of finding more than one IMAX screen in a single multiplex are virtually zero, which limits the number of screenings available in a given day.
My nearest IMAX is a 45 minute drive away and only seems to schedule three screenings a day. And for the average person working 9-5, those times were pretty awkward. Especially since Dune lasts two and a half hours.
IMAX tickets also cost more. If I had seen a standard Dune projection at the same time as my IMAX projection it would have cost about half the price. Even though UK cinemas appear to be competing in a race to the bottom, IMAX remains the more expensive option. For a solo moviegoer, or a couple, who forgo overpriced popcorn, it’s not that bad. But if you’re part of a large group or a family, doubling the price isn’t as economical.
But for me, if I’m going to take a trip to the theater and give up the option of taking a break and going to the bathroom halfway, I’d better make sure that the trip is worth it.