EDITORIALS

Editorial: IMAX's 'Exclusives' Are a Let Down, If You Can Find Them

by
July 26, 2012

IMAX Exclusives

I love IMAX. I've seen The Dark Knight Rises three times in 70mm IMAX, and it's an incomparably grand experience. They've got that part down. But IMAX seems to be lagging in some other areas. Did you hear about that awesome IMAX exclusive Skyfall trailer that's been showing in front of Dark Knight Rises? No? I barely heard about it either. Apparently it's supposed to be an IMAX "exclusive" trailer that highlights the format and the action from Skyfall, the new Bond movie, which as we've seen from the teaser looks fantastic. I've been to three separate TDKR IMAX showings and haven't seen the trailer once. Where is it?

I'm not the only one complaining. I brought it up after my midnight IMAX showing of Dark Knight Rises last week, and got many replies on Twitter from people wondering where it was as well. Here's the deal - the "Skyfall IMAX exclusive" trailer is a part of the digital trailer pack attached with non-70mm IMAX screens, or the fake "LieMAX" digital screens. That's it. Some kind of IMAX exclusive, eh? The reason behind why it's not on the 70mm showings is that the actual film reel for TDKR, with a running time of 164 minutes (2 hours, 44 minutes), is too large to hold anything besides the ~70lbs. platter of film. It's filled right to the brink, and projectionists have even had to cut part of the opening IMAX promo just to get everything to fit.

Now here's the thing - I am sure many people have seen the Skyfall trailer and I have heard from many, many people that it is awesome. Literally described as "awesome" by almost all those who've seen it and talked to me about it. It's definitely out there, showing on some IMAX screens somewhere, but not on the real 70mm IMAX screens. I've heard it has a focus on action and other story reveals, but I haven't seen it myself (despite paying to attend two public 70mm IMAX showings of TDKR) so I can't confirm yet. But it is definitely a full-length, exclusive trailer for IMAX only. We haven't seen the other new Skyfall trailer yet.

TDKR IMAX BaneThis isn't the only "exclusive" issue at IMAX. For four major movies this summer, IMAX has released an exclusive poster to go along with the movie (The Avengers, Prometheus, The Amazing Spider-Man, The Dark Knight Rises). The design usually kicks ass, it looks great, everyone wants a copy, and if you attend a 12:01AM IMAX showing, you're supposed to get one. That's the first problem. No one knows how it really works. From the moment the poster is released saying fans will get one at 12:01AM showings, it's mass hysteria. Will they be at my theater? Where exactly? How do I get one? How many will they have? If you're going to offer up a very desirable item for free, at least provide some basic information: quantity, details on availability. Shouldn't all that be sent out with it?

Note: There is a line in the poster reveal email from IMAX's publicity team which states: "Check IMAX for a list of participating theatres; while supplies last." That's it. The list of participating theaters simply links to the IMAX Dark Knight Rises page which shows everywhere it's playing, but no specific info on these posters beyond that. Not very helpful.

Finally, when I went to attend the exciting 12:01AM IMAX showing, I was hoping to get my hands on their exclusive TDKR poster. It was that badass B&W Bane poster, which I really wanted to get a copy of. All the reports only said "those attending The Dark Knight Rises IMAX midnight shows in the first hours of July 20th will receive this exclusive, limited edition print." When I got there, no one knew where they were coming from. Random people in the audience already had one, but none knew how or where from. One guy didn't even want his. "Do you want mine?" he asked. I said yes. But when he handed it to me, I realized why he didn't want it. It was nothing but an 11"x17" sized ~$0.10 printing on flimsy paper. The cheapest poster that marketing can buy. This is all it was? All this hype and excitement... for this piece of junk in the end?

While my experience seeing Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises at midnight in 70mm IMAX was spectacular, there was nothing else special about it or the rest of IMAX's offerings. We didn't see any trailers, including the "Skyfall IMAX exclusive" trailer, before the movie - it just went right into it. And the posters they were giving out, in very limited quantity it seemed, were cheap miniature posters that likely went straight to the trash after everyone left. For a brand that touts the experience and quality above all, it's unfortunate to see them missing those elements entirely when it comes to their exclusives. IMAX, you can do better. At least show you care about your real fans, those who do go to your 70mm theaters, and they'll love you back.

Sometimes I just have to get something off my chest. As a huge Bond fan and lover of IMAX, it's upsetting they're not up to par everywhere, especially with this "awesome" Skyfall trailer. In fact, my experience with their exclusives has been a massive let down so far. I honestly still can't wait to see this Skyfall trailer, somehow, even if I have to pay for a ticket to a LieMAX digital showing. But then again, I guess there's no guarantee it'll show then either. At least I can always still go get lost in the actual in-film 70mm experience.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/matthew.schmieding Bubba Matt Schmieding
    Alex - same thing happened to me here in Denver for both 70mm IMAX showings of DKR at 1201am midnight and last Sunday too where we got 0 trailers. I was looking forward to the Skyfall preview as well so figured the midnight was on a time crunch but assumed the Sunday would have it for sure but no luck. I have a good relationship with the management and asked what was up and they apologized but explained it like this - Nolan made sure that the 70mm film prints of TDKR were to be shown in the real IMAX theaters so the manager had to re-install the film projector to show this since it's been digital for some time. I guess all the trailers that are showing in the LIEIMAX screenings are digital files so they couldn't install the digital projector to show the trailers and then have time to go back to the film projector for the 70mm film. I'm going to see The Watch this weekend and plan on walking into the beginning of a DKR LIEMAX screening just so i can see the trailers. Good luck!
  • http://twitter.com/JordanScott53 Jordan Scott
    Well once again it seems Cinemark Carefree Circle in Colorado Springs has their shit together. As soon as they let us in the theater they announced when they would be handing out posters and told us that for us to be sure to get them we would need to be in our seats. Then about an hour before the movie the Manager got up and told us all that because it was a film print we would not be getting any trailers. It was a very pleasant experience and I would take the immersive experience of true IMAX over an exclusive trailer at a LieMAX any day.
    • http://twitter.com/JordanScott53 Jordan Scott
      I forgot to mention that while my poster was small it was on really nice thick poster paper. Very happy with it.
  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1593169740 Chris Amaya
    What the hell? So the badass bane poster was a crappy small frame sized poster? Is that the case with all the other IMAX posters as well?
    • Phillip Gockel
      The Amazing Spider-Man was 11x17 as well, though at least mine was printed on high quality coated paper in what looked to be a digital offset process.
  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=807010553 Charles Oosterhouse
    Hmmm..... I've gotten all four of the IMAX midnight posters when I've gone. My IMAX theater (which is a true 70mm IMAX) always has them after the showing. You walk out of the theater, they have three or four employees passing them out. As far as the quality of the posters, do they print on just random paper? The first poster I got, The Avengers, was on super thin and flimsy paper... very cheap. But after that, the rest of the three movies have had nice thick stock poster paper, which I was very impressed with. I do agree it seems kinda dumb they have no concrete info on how to get the poster, but my theater seems to be doing a good job with it. I've run into no problems. And the trailer... that's just stupid lol.
  • rocky728
    I like the true I-Max but I think most people aren't even aware of the difference they just hear I-Max and don't realize most are just watching a slightly larger digital screen not much different from what they normally see. It's one of the biggest hoaxes around yet they still have a bigger surcharge than 3D alone. As far as posters go it's one of the worst handled things ever. I actually came back the morning after with my stub ready to complain about not getting my poster (not for TDKR but a previous film) and luckily they were nice enough to run upstairs and get me not 1 but 2. Still they need to work out some logistics here
  • http://www.talkingfilms.net/ Prem Shashi
    About Skyfall trailer, I actually saw it when I went to the IMAX in Centerville, Utah. It was a fine trailer and beautiful in IMAX.
  • HazedMind
    I saw this film on "liemax" and imax screens, and i only found out now i guess, because at one theater it went right into the film as you said, and it was a kind of wtf moment, everyone I was with tought it was a superman trailer cause we saw the dc comics thing but then gary oldman's face was on screen right after, then i went to another theater the next day and got all the trailers before the show including the James Bond trailer, which I had never seen before, although I had no idea about this LieMax thing til now and was really confused as to why the first showing didn't have trailers
  • http://www.gmanreviews.com Andrew Robinson
    Sometimes I'm amazed at how whiny people can get on the internet... Maybe it's because I reside outside of the USA and am used to having to hear about all the amazingness that film geeks (such as yourself Alex) get to enjoy and know that I'll never get that (the promotional material and what not) that I've learned to lower my expectations. You didn't get to see a TRAILER!!! Which will probably be released online for us all to enjoy eventually anyways. You didn't get a FREE POSTER!!! Which as you said turned out to be crap anyways. You know what you did get? The Dark Knight Rises in 70mm IMAX. Where's the complaint? Now you may be coughing at my comment and going, "another hater", but honestly I don't see why we must put so much importance on all of these things... On a side note I'm going to go see TDKR for the first time this coming weekend at my local IMAX (here in Trinidad) and I know they project only digitally and have a sneaking suspicion that it's actually a "Liemax" but I can't really tell... the screen is wow-worthy, and everytime I see it it's insane. But I know they don't show any 70mm prints, only digital. Is that a sign of a LieMax? I'll let you know if I didn't get a trailer too.
    • http://www.firstshowing.net Alex Billington
      Hah I understand your point, yes it is just marketing material, but this is the stuff I love, it's the stuff I live for, and it's the kind of stuff that drives this site and the hype/buzz behind it. I paid nearly $20 for that TDKR IMAX experience and relished every last second of it, but if they're going to claim IMAX is an experience that comes with exclusives like trailers and posters, then make sure those live up to the rest of the cinematic experience. Just a little constructive criticism, because I really do care about the moviegoing experience on a whole.
      • http://51percentkidding.blogspot.com/ Power_Lloyd
        Shame on you for removing my more pointed comment. It's your right, but I at least hope you learned something.
      • John
        Alex, correct me if I'm wrong but I thought an IMAX movie could only be so long (not sure why - perhaps because the film reel can only be so large). From what I read, TDKR was dangerously close to the maximum running time, and therefore there was no room for trailers in front of the 70mm prints. The digital IMAX, on the other hand, probably has no such limitation. Just a theory.
        • http://www.firstshowing.net Alex Billington
          No I know, I believe you are correct, my frustration just comes from the fact that the premium offering (70mm) didn't have the what sounded like was an awesome, exciting IMAX promo reel highlighting the format. Don't advertise or promote what you can't really deliver.
          • Dun Dun
            Alex, where was this advertised? From what I've heard this is just a trailer, like any trailer. Maybe only on Imax screens or something, but it's not like studios guarantee any trailer is running on any feature. i don't see anything on the Imax website or their Facebook page, or on any Skyfall websites. Especially when Skyfall is a Sony movie trying to put a trailer on a Warner movie, there's always the possibility it won't play in many theaters. Sounds like this is more an issue of not having room on the 70mm film, but I guess I'm just wondering why you're so let down when it doesn't seem like Imax was making a big deal out of this.
    • John
      I remember how everyone was going crazy about TDKR trailer in front of the Avengers, but my screening did not have the trailer attached. Everyone else was going nuts, and I didn't get to see it. Of course, it is silly to complain about not seeing a trailer. But at the same time, I enjoy the trailers that play before a movie and I consider it a part of the experience. As for the Skyfall exclusive, it played at the AMC Woodlands 20 IMAX (digital) in Florida. I had no idea about it, so it (along with Man of Steel) was a very pleasant surprise.
  • ckone25b
    The Skyfall IMAX trailer played in front of TDKR at the AMC in Mission Valley, San Diego. I was surprised because I hadn't heard that an extended trailer for Skyfall existed and I am a frequent visitor to this site so I feel like I am pretty up on most trailers. Needless to say, it was pretty great and looked great on the large screen.
  • http://www.fusedfilm.com/ Michael Lee
    Alex, thanks for confirming that these IMAX posters aren't worth the wait. I did the midnight screenings for MI:4, John Carter, and The Amazing Spider-Man, and all I got were these weak and frail posters that weren't even worth framing. Which is why I didn't even want to wait in an IMAX line for The Dark Knight Rises. I also didn't get to see the trailer that was suppose to be attached to the film. My friend even said isn't there suppose to be a small preview of something. All I could do was shrug. But I wouldn't even go near a LieMax theater, they aren't worth my time or money.
  • LINKFX
    they just need to market it better...honestly, and I'd love author feedback, I wonder if IMAX has put themself into a corner they can't escape from here...I see a possible reason for them not promoting this Skyfall exclusive is because they'd have to admit it was only in the Liemax theaters...thus forcing them to at least partially officially talk about the Liemax's or the difference between them and the real ones in a way that paints the company in a negative light. Most people don't know the difference...I'd say the majority of filmgoers don't even know the large real ones even exist. The problem is, is that they aren't cost effective to run by any means. The only reason IMAX still exists is because they started playing normal movies in them, and then they expanded with these fake theaters...honestly, the ETX Theater at AMC Burbank 16 is way better than a Liemax...but that's for another story.
  • Zak Abitz
    All my IMAX midnight posters have been 11x17 and on nice thick card paper. Including TDKR one. Weird that yours was crap. Sorry man. I also didn't get to see the Skyfall trailer. But seeing TDKR on 70MM IMAX FILM! was worth not seeing it.
  • Yuggg
    I looked at your IMAX vs. LIEMAX map, the theater in Grand Blanc, MI is not IMAX as the map states. It is most definitely LIEMAX. Just thought you'd like to know.
  • tzarinna
    It seems I have a very important decision to make, I really want to see Daniel Craig.
  • http://twitter.com/serke serke
    I saw that Skyfall promo. Finally the fakey-IMAX in my city comes in handy!
  • MarkHchoi
    It's showing at AMC Cetury City 15 LieMAX
  • Mel
    Causing even further confusion in the whole IMAX/LieMAX thing: The theatre I saw TDKR at is a full-sized, 70'x44' screen. When it opened five years ago, it was 70mm film, but at some point (I'm not sure when), they switched to digital projectors. So we got the Skyfall trailer, on a full-sized IMAX screen--not the smaller, repurposed-theatre-for-LieMAX screen.

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