This is a tale of a visit most bizzarre to a Regal digiminIMAX theater. Many of you know that I don’t like the digiminIMAX’s. Not because of the image or sound, which I think is high quality, but rather the size of the screen and the configuration of the theater. I’d rather go to a Cinemark XD or another premium theater, or even a conventional digital auditorium, than pay what I feel is too high a premium for a less than stellar experience.
So I found it quite a shock when I persuaded myself to attend a screening of THOR at the local Regal digiminIMAX. My friends and I went because, much like many professionals in the cinema industry are noting, REALD off a 2K projector is just way too dark. The only way to properly get the light output needed to show off the gorgeous scenery of this film would be a 1570 projector. But since neither IMAX nor the studio made this a possibility, a close second would be the dual projectors and enhanced light engine of the IMAX digital projector. Please note, before you become too confused that I refer to the projection and sound system by the proper terminology. DigiminIMAX is my term for the auditorium and its operation.
This was a strange experience. I found it very odd that the trailers for “Cars 2” and “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” ran right before the 3D film, yet the trailers played in 2D. I could understand this error with film – but with a digital two-projector 3D system?
Stranger still, was the start of the program, an IMAX preshow that announced “The world’s most immersive movie experience begins now,” with the IMAX logo onscreen, followed by two trailers in the following sequence (then the Disney trailers and the film):
Now, there is the possibility that “Green Lantern” might be sneaking its way into IMAX theaters in the week between “Super 8” and “Cars 2,” but that’s highly doubtful. When I turned and looked at the booth, I noticed the image was only 2K, coming from a single projector. This is the protocol for playing non-IMAX content on the IMAX digital system: 1 projector only, without the other enhancements that would make it an IMAX experience.
I’ve been in the giant screen industry in one capacity or another for over fifteen years. Every operation I’ve worked with or been associated with has had to abide by a single programming rule built into the IMAX contract: if the program being shown or promoted is not being presented in the IMAX format, a disclaimer must be presented with said show or advertisement stating such (my paraphrase). Did not happen here.
So Regal is advertising a non-IMAX film before an IMAX film without disclosing that the advertised film will not be in IMAX. I’ve spoken to colleagues who also experienced this same programming strategy in Regal digiminIMAX theaters elsewhere. Does Regal have a waiver on this most important of IMAX rules or did some digital programmer screw up? Either way, there will be some very pissed off Green Lantern fans come June.
But this was just part of the Regal conspiracy. For this is the Kinotech Blog’s 30 Days of 3D, and tomorrow I bring you the mystery of the 3D glasses.