Sunday, November 18, 2007

Imax In Demand

National Blog Posting Month Day 18

This weekend was time for the Fall Philly Road Trip. Last year we went to the Pennsylvania Renaissance Fair. This year we went to catch Beowulf in Imax 3D. My son began broadly hinting that he wanted to take some friends to see the movie a week or so ago.

We usually take him out to a fancy steak dinner for getting a good report card, but we decided a road trip with three of his friends was an excellent alternative. Since none of the vehicles in our current fleet will fit six, I got a Grand Caravan for the day and we all hit the road. And just so we didn’t neglect the steak part of the tradition, we hit Pat’s in South Philly to school the kids in what real cheesesteaks taste like. They all agreed they were infinitely better than the pale imitation the school cafeteria serves.

But why did I rent a minivan and drive two hours to see what is showing just down the street? Because the closest theater with an Imax screen is in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, home of what must be the biggest mall on the eastern seaboard.

I can’t believe that the greater Washington/Baltimore area can’t support a commercial Imax theater. There is no shortage of museum affiliated screens including the National Air and Space Museum, the National Museum of Natural History, the Udvar-Hazy Center, and the Maryland Science Center here in Baltimore. Some of these dabble in commercial releases after hours, but none show them on a regular basis.

A few years ago while killing time during the holidays down in Tampa we caught The Polar Express in 3D Imax at the otherwise nearly deserted Channelside Complex. If Tampa can support an Imax theater, I don’t know why this area can’t. You expect to find Imax theaters in big cities like New York, San Francisco, and Dallas, but according to Wikipedia, other US cities with commercial Imax screens include Nashville, Fresno, Colorado Springs, West Palm Beach, Boise, and dozens of others.

The movie chains need to get a clue and tap a market that demands it. If I can drive a hundred miles to see an Imax movie, think of the thousands that would drive across town.

BlatantCommentWhoring™: Would you pay more to see a movie in Imax? Would you drive a hundred miles?


Anonymous said...

No and no. Although I am willing to drive 20 miles to see a movie in English, that being how far away the closest theater that shows movies in the original is. (But then, we have to drive that far to see most movies anyway.) Making an effort to see things in the original has tapered off a bit, for films we know we're going to buy on DVD later. Which also gives us a chance to groan at the often bad translation and the dubbing actors' general inability to pronounce things with "th" in them. (The guy voicing Orlando Bloom in Pirates of the Caribbean has a terrible time with Elizabeth. Sounds like he's spitting out broken teeth.)

So how was Beowulf? Oh, wait. Movie review is another day in the NaBloPoMo.

Sue T. said...

My hometown of Grand Rapids, Mich., has a commercial IMAX theater that's like 10 minutes from my parents' house. I am stunned that Baltimore/Washington doesn't have one by now! I don't go to a lot of IMAX movies since the kind of movies I enjoy don't tend to be the kind that are blown up real big. I think the last one I saw was that James Cameron 3D documentary about the Titanic. The Mt. Everest doc is also one of my faves.

yellojkt said...

d-x is on to my scam. Actually, I won't be reviewing the movie, per se, but you'll have to read tomorrow to find out.

I saw that Everest documentary on Jazz Night at NMNH and it stunned me.

Thumper said...

I'd pay a little more to see an Imax movie, but I won't drive for it. We're not terribly far from San Francisco, but I haven't made the drive to see a movie there.

2fs said...

I don't think I would drive 100 miles...but you can add Milwaukee (mentally) to your list of cities with an Imax theater.

Mooselet said...

We had an IMAX theatre here in Brisbane - it closed down due to lack of business - just too expensive.

I wouldn't go as I won't spend the money to see a regular movie in a regular theatre - much better to wait for the DVD.

Impetua said...

Depends on the movie. We have an IMAX here in Portland (Oregon) which is not very far to drive. I've been kind of wanting to see a regular movie on IMAX as opposed to the ones they make specifically for IMAX, but haven't gotten around to it. With the small ball and chain we don't get to that many movies anyway.