Editorial: IMAX's 'Exclusives' Are a Let Down, If You Can Find Them
by Alex Billington
July 26, 2012
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.
This 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.