Saving the Cinema
Is the movie theater on it’s death bed? Have piracy, digital distribution, high ticket prices, and an influx of mediocre films brought the theater to an early demise? It seems so. Even though Avatar, a film released less than six months ago, just broke the box office revenue records, after closer inspection it is clear that the film wasn’t seen by as many people as the previous record holder, Titanic. So how do we, the filmmakers of tomorrow, change course on this road to destruction? Well it’s simple, we’ve got to give audiences ample enough reason to go to the cinema. We have to give them an experience.
The excuses many pests use for seeing garbage like Transformers 2 is “escapism”; this idea that they are moved into this new world and it’s crazy and its beautiful and exciting. Let’s face it, many people lead boring lives. They go to work and sit at a desk for eight hours then they come home to a woman that looks nothing like Megan Fox, and they repeat this over and over again. Movies free up the mind to and spark all sorts of happy plugs in the brain. Immersion is the name of the game and what better way to do that than to throw 8+ stories of screen combined with 12,000 watts of audio at their ear drums. Ladies and Gentlemen I give you… IMAX.
IMAX has been around for years, but it has really started to expand in the last 5-10. Film after film are now being refitted for IMAX and people are flocking to the theaters. Christopher Nolan boosted IMAX popularity even more when he filmed parts of the sequel to the Batman reboot, The Dark Knight, on IMAX cameras, a first in Hollywood. Michael Bay followed suit with parts of Transformers 2, showing audiences just how tall Optimus Prime would appear if he were real. This heightened sense of scale aided enormously in the audiences enjoyment of the film and brought forth the idea of IMAX taking over conventional theaters and becoming the new standard. 35mm has been around forever and is no longer as mesmerizing and untouchable as it once was, it’s time for IMAX and IMAX Digital to step up.
But of course the obvious response is cost. Building the IMAX theaters, converting the older conventional theaters, and the ticket prices that go along with IMAX viewings. Well for one this would not happen over night, there are definite economics issues that need to be addressed. IMAX prices are way to high. In New York City, IMAX 3D tickets are going up to 19.50! That is absolute insanity. Ticket prices for IMAX need to be lowered by as much as 7 dollars in order to have a shot at replacing established multiplexes. Now I bet some of you are saying “35mm is just fine” “we don’t need IMAX” “this is all too expensive” and I’ll counter that with a simple No.
People are tired of going to the theater and having to deal with high food and beverage prices, rude folks who talk through-out the entire film, and overall lack of control for an experience that they feel they can replicate in their house. With companies like Sharp making 100+ inch TVs there’s only a matter of time people stop going to their local cinema in favor of their massive flat screen and iTunes movie subscriptions. What IMAX does is it gives consumers an experience they can’t dream of replicating, unless they’ve got Steven Spielberg money. At say $12.50-15.00 for IMAX experience, people will feel as though they’re not being entirely ripped off.
Christopher Nolan has said “There’s simply nothing like seeing a movie that way…it’s more immersive for the audience. I wish I could shoot the entire thing this way.” and Jon Favreau, director of the Iron Man franchise, stated in an interview with Aintitcool.com “Yeah, I loved watching DARK KNIGHT in the IMAX format. It’s the first time I saw a movie in that format that wasn’t made just for IMAX. And a lot of it I think was very, I think it was very effective.” The filmmakers of tomorrow are very excited about the format and if IMAX can get the prices down and continue expanding, they can very easily become the saviors of the Movie Theater.