IMAX: Are you getting your money’s worth?

I, like a lot of others, have been waiting for the last four years to see Christopher Nolan’s new and final movie in his Batman trilogy The Dark Knight RisesIt will be released on the 20th of July, and fans will be lining up for blocks to see it at midnight for the premiere. Among multiple others, one of this movie’s claims to fame is that Nolan opted to shoot almost an entire hour of the film with an IMAX camera. That makes it the most IMAX footage in a movie ever, beating out its predecessor, The Dark Knight, which was the first movie to have any raw IMAX footage in it (as opposed to regular film, blown up to fit an IMAX screen), totaling about 30 minutes.

Cinephiles will happily pay the extra five dollars to see the movie in IMAX. But will they actually be seeing it in IMAX?

The IMAX film format is characterized by its enormous screen and its 65mm film stock that passes through the camera horizontally, instead of vertically, at three times the speed of a normal film camera. This allows for a screen that can be up to eight stories tall. It is an awe-inspiring experience, especially if you’re sitting in just the right spot where the picture takes up your entire field of vision. However, a growing amount of movie theaters have been selling tickets for an extra charge to play the IMAX movie on a normal-sized screen.  This is called Digital IMAX, and it is a complete ripoff.

While Digital IMAX (also known as LieMAX) does provide a slightly better image and sound quality, it is infuriating for someone who paid extra, expecting to see a movie in the best possible conditions. Movie theater executives have figured that real IMAX theaters are too expensive to run, but since people aren’t informed of the entire story, they will gladly pay to see a film that they believe will be better than it actually is.

I’ll spare you the boring film-geek details about frames per second and film perforations, but know to check your ticket before you buy it, just to make sure. If it says Digital IMAX, get a refund and a real IMAX ticket. I promise it’ll be worth it. I’ll see you at Batman.

By Ethan Weinstein


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