FOR PICKING THE WRONG DATE TO ANNOUNCE A THEATER IN AN UPSCALE NEIGHBORHOOD OF CAIRO: IMAX CORPORATION
On January 25, IMAX issued a press release announcing a deal with MISR International Film for a new IMAX theater at City Stars in Cairo. That announcement was overshadowed by the fact that the 25th also the first day of protests against the Mubarak regime and its corrupt government. Ironically, MISR was founded by famed Egyptian filmmaker Youssef Chahine, and one of his most famous works was 1972’s Al-asfour (The Sparrow), which alleged corruption in the Egyptian government. The film, in a moment of fiction foreshadowing fact, ends with an ever-growing crowd taking to the streets.
FOR NOT GOING AWAY SOON ENOUGH: THE SONY/IMAX BUYOUT RUMOR
Just before the end of the year, just before the end of the week, a British financial columnist reported unnamed sources as confirming that SONY (or possibly Disney) was planning to buy IMAX. Rumors like this come up every few years, whenever IMAX strikes a deal with a studio. 3NET and “Green Hornet?” Must by SONY. “TRON Legacy” coming out in IMAX? Disney must be getting ready to buy. One day, tech analysts who were attending CES and putting on REALD glasses in the SONY booth will look back on this moment and laugh. In the meantime, may I suggest that with Universal reentering the IMAX fray with Fast Five, that we will find out in April that it is truly Comcast who will be the final buyer.
FOR BEING THE CURSED MOVIE AIRPLANE OF THE YEAR: P-51 MUSTANG
In September 2009, 3D Entertainment (3DE) announced that it would distribute “Air Racers,” a new 3D film in production about the Reno Air Races for giant screen theaters from aerial photography veteran Roger Tonry in his directing debut. The film profiles the world’s fastest motorsport, with P-51 Mustangs racing at speeds up to 400 mph just feet off the ground. A year later, 3D Entertainment announced that it had become a producer on the film and that 3DE’s Jean-Jacques Mantello would be the film’s new director. Normally, I’d let something like this go the wayside weren’t it for the fact that reports had circulated earlier in the year out of Hollywood of an eerily similar situation. Making his directorial debut on Red Tails, a Lucasfilm-produced feature about the Tuskeegee Airmen, the famed group of African-American P-51 fighter pilots in World War II, director Anthony Hemingway was replaced for extensive reshoots by, well, Lucasfilm’s George Lucas.* The P-51 Mustang: love it, fly it, just don’t make it your directorial debut.
FOR THINKING BIG: WARREN THEATERS
At a time when creating an IMAX theater means nothing more than installing a floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall screen, removing a few rows of seats to push the screen closer, and applying the finishing touches of IMAX projection and sound systems, one company brought us back to a time when going to an IMAX show wasn’t just about a “big” movie, but about having a truely memorable experience. As Warren has shown, when you set out to call your new giant screen “World Class IMAX Theatre,” it’s best to be world-class.
*Lucasfilm has released a public comment that Lucas took over directorial duties once Hemmingway had left to work on an HBO project. However, the company also noted that time for reshoots was always in the original schedule.