In September 2007, officials from the Riverside Museum in Peoria, IL met in Toronto with IMAX officials to discuss what they hoped would be the first institutional digital IMAX theater. However, due to delays both in fundraising and bureaucratic red tape, a contract with IMAX was never signed, which would have granted the museum exclusivity for the market. When I spoke with Sheldon Schafer, the Vice President of Education at the Lakeview Museum of Arts & Sciences (the current existing museum that will join with a few others to form the Riverfront Museum), at last year’s GSCA conference, he pointed out that two key reasons for having the IMAX branded theater were: 1. brand recognition and exclusivity of the brand in the market, and 2. the ability to show Hubble 3D, an IMAX exclusive, which features Shuttle Commander Scott Altman, a native of the area and a friend of the Lakeview Museum. Without the exclusivity guaranteed for the IMAX brand, the justification for the large expense on an IMAX theater becomes questionable. Museum officials are looking at a number of d-cinema alternatives and will be visiting the GSCA conference this month. Meanwhile, locals are getting restless….
UPDATE 10/2/10: BigMovieZone.com has reported via the Peoria Journal Star that RAVE Motion Pictures will open a commercial digital IMAX theater in the Peoria market by 2011. Click here for more information.