FOR BEATING DISNEY TO THE PUNCH: NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC FILMS
When casting narrators for nature documentaries, if David Attenborough’s not available, it’s always good to go for the strong commanding voice of a starship captain. Both Avery Brooks and Patrick Stewart have done commendable jobs on a number of films, primarily in the IMAX format. Next would be the soothing voice of Morgan Freeman, who did such a wonderful job with “March of the Penguins” and who will be narrating the upcoming IMAX film “Born to be Wild.” If he’s not available, and you’re producing a film on African animals, why not go with a voice from “The Lion King.” Graphic Films did this when they cast James Earl Jones to narrate the IMAX film “Africa: The Serengeti.” Remaining on the “Lion King” roster would be Matthew Broderick, Nathan Lane, and Rowan Atkinson – none of which exude a commanding presence. Perhaps Robert Guillaume? But who wants to have their film narrated by an esteemed actor who portrayed a baboon? Alas, Disney is proud to announce that their latest Earth Day film, “African Cats” will be narrated by that other powerful “Lion King” voice, Jeremy Irons. What? Scratch that. It seems Jeremy Irons is narrating National Geographic’s “The Last Lions,” which opened Feb. 27, a full two months before Disney’s film, which is being narrated by TBD.
FOR THINKING BIG AND LOSING OUT: COMMERCIAL GT THEATERS
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part” – check. “TRON: Legacy” – check. “The Green Hornet” – nope. Keep playing TRON. “Sanctum” – nope. Keep playing TRON. “I Am Number Four” – if you’re lucky. “Mars Needs Moms!” – if you’re lucky and you’re not playing “Number Four”. Because the current IMAX digital projector cannot meet the needs of the largest IMAX screens, a number of high-profile theaters in key markets, such as New York, Chicago, and San Francisco, have been denied films as they are released only digitally or with a extremely limited number of film prints. This includes theaters operated by AMC, Regal, and IMAX Corporation itself.
FOR CREATING A BETTER FILM THAN JAMES CAMERON IN THE SAME FRANCHISE: ALEXANDRE AJA
It’s campy. It’s fun. It features an incredible underwater 3D scene, and it’s full of obvious CG fish in 3D. Alexandre Aja (“The Hills Have Eyes”) went into making “Pirhana 3D” with the idea to make the film “silly; it goes over the top” (Cinematical interview, August 20, 2010). That’s a far cry from James Cameron’s first foray as director, an atrocity ruined by the meddling of Greek producer Ovidio Assinitis, that is known as “Pirhana 2: The Spawning.” Thank goodness the experience made Cameron ill. While he was recuperating in Italy from working on this piece of crap, he had a nightmare of a metallic figure that he subsequently named “The Terminator.”
FOR CONTINUED EXPANSION IN THE KEY EMERGING MARKETS: IMAX CORPORATION
The sad truth of today’s global cinema is that movie successes are no longer reliant on strictly domestic ticket sales or total international sales, but rather on a film’s outcome in the three countries with the largest number of cinemas in development and the fastest growing middle classes – Brazil, Russia, and China. IMAX has already made significant inroads with plans to double and triple their theaters in Russia and China within the next five years. Expect the portable theaters to be used significantly in these two countries as well. With Brazil hosting the FIFA World Cup in 2014 and the Olympic Games in 2016, the Blog anticipates a huge deal with Brazil within the next year.
FOR EXPLAINING IN A SIMPLE AND UNDERSTANDABLE MANNER THAT CAPTURE IS THE KEY TO ALL SUCCESSFUL 3D PRESENTATIONS: MICHAEL ROBINSON
While my colleagues sat in the comfortable confines of the Moody Gardens IMAX Theater witnessing the introduction of REALD’s XLW 3D system, I sat in a hotel ballroom nearly 3000 miles away, staring at Lenny Lipton, whose company had been purchased by REALD a number of years ago, listen to Michael Robinson, whose company also had been purchased by REALD, talk about REALD. And all things 3D for that matter. Robinson, REALD’s Chief Scientist, discussed 3D cinema systems, 3D televisions, and autostereoscopic handheld devices. But he made sure to end his talk with a simple and concise explanation that presentation means nothing if you don’t capture it correctly in the first place. Robinson’s keynote from the Stereographic Displays and Applications conference will be covered in more detail later this month.
FOR BEING THE CITY THAT WILL BE SYNONYMOUS WITH IMAX FOR THE NEXT YEAR: DETROIT
“Real Steel” just wrapped filming there. “Dark Knight Rises” is about to start. And if the Henry Ford in Dearborn and the Detroit Science Center win their joint bid to host the Giant Screen Cinema Association’s annual conference in 2012, this coming year is the one where Detroit will be known as IMAX City.