AMC Extends IMAX Partnership, Adding More IMAX Screens
It looks like the growing demand for 3D, and for IMAX, is causing the marketplace to continue to expand. Deadline reports that IMAX Corporation and AMC Entertainment have announced an expansion of their 2007 joint venture to implement more IMAX systems in AMC movie theaters. Through this growing partnership, IMAX will be adding between 15 and 25 new IMAX theaters (most of which will open in 2011). That's on top of another 25 theaters that are being built right now that will "be in business by end of 2010." It is at least good to know that more IMAX-sized, 3D-capable theaters are being added in more locations.
IMAX is not going to like that I'm mentioning this, but it's only fair that I remind you that these new AMC digital IMAX theaters are the ones that are being labeled as LieMAX. What we're not seeing in this press release are details about how many theaters will be the full-size IMAX in their own buildings versus how many are just regular screens converted to digital IMAX (which is what most people refer to as LieMAX). According to their info, there are currently 316 IMAX theaters worldwide. If only more filmmakers would shoot in that format and present their movies in IMAX more often, maybe it could become a bigger trend than 3D. And if building more theaters makes that possible, then I guess I'm all for it in the end anyway.
Deadline goes on to talk about how IMAX (and obviously 3D) is becoming more and more of a cash cow for the studios. Unfortunately, to me, it just seems like capitalistic escalation, where instead of creating better content to bring in more audiences to movie theaters, they're simply increasing the pricing, so that it looks like they've made as much money as before, when really only half the amount of people are still attending (they're just paying double the price). We've heard reports that movie tickets are costing upwards of $20 nowadays for a 3D movie, which is outrageous. That may backfire on them soon, so they better watch out.
Anyway, I haven't commented on the exhibition industry in a while, and I wanted to voice my opinion again. I'm all for supporting IMAX's growth and I'm happy to see them expanding, but I feel like they're meddling a bit too much with their otherwise reputable brand. IMAX is supposed to be this huge, premium (high cost) experience, but when they start building more and more theaters (nearly 400 by next year), it becomes a more common experience, and they can't keep charging high prices. But that's a story for another day, as for now this is about allowing more people to see movies in glorious, humongous IMAX, which is the way they should be seen, especially if they're made for IMAX. What do you think about this IMAX expansion?