Despite (or perhaps because of) the recession, 2009 has been a record setting year so far at the box office. Adding to the tally has been record box office takes for IMAX movies. Last year, The Dark Knight opened on just under 100 IMAX screens and set new box office records for the format.
Around that time, IMAX announced that they would begin installing their new digital projection system in hundreds of new theaters over the next few years, basically tripling the number of IMAX screens. The expansion has already paid dividends at the box office. Just in the past couple of months, Star Trek opened on 138 IMAX screens and set a new box office record for IMAX. Last week, Transformers 2 did the same thing with 169 screens.
All of this is good news, right? After all, IMAX represents the highest quality theatrical presentation. Bringing this quality presentation to more people is supposed to be a good thing. Not if you read the (unavailable) fine print.
GOING ON THE CHEAP
Unfortunately, it seems that IMAX has embarked on an expansion strategy that risks watering down a premium brand that took 40 years to establish. Basically, IMAX is adding new IMAX theaters that fall woefully short of the standards that IMAX has used over the last 40 years. This cheapening of the IMAX brand is starting just as the format gained significant momentum with audiences and Hollywood directors in light of Christopher Nolan’s usage of IMAX cameras to make The Dark Knight. ……….
Read more at his forum post here.