This weekend I had the pleasure of seeing Star Trek on IMAX... but unlike what I suspect was the majority of ticketholders that contributed to breaking IMAX sales records, I actually saw it on what I would define as an actual IMAX screen. As opposed to, you know, a FakeMAX screen.

What's the difference? Well, I define an IMAX screen the same way everyone's defined IMAX since the technology first rolled out back in 1971: A really big screen. There isn't a whole lot more to it - if the screen is gigantic, it's IMAX.

If it's not, it's FakeMAX, and it's preying on unwitting movie goers as we speak. Across the nation, "IMAX" theaters are starting pop up seemingly out of thin air. Personally I was excited and confused when our local Altamonte AMC theater announced IMAX was coming, because while I loved the idea of having a close IMAX theater... I wasn't sure how they were installing it when it didn't appear that they were doing a single bit of construction to increase the theater's size.

Of course they didn't really do jack, because weren't installing a real IMAX screen. But I didn't have any way of knowing that, so by the time it was up and running and I went to see Watchman, I figured, why not? The theater said it was IMAX, the ticket certainly cost like it was IMAX... so how was I to know any better? Once you walk in though, it's impossible not to feel disappointed. The screen is a bit bigger, but honestly it's like the difference between a 55" TV and a 60" TV; I'd rather have the 60", but it's not really going to make much of a difference. The sound system was certainly better (i.e. louder), but was that worth my ridiculous ticket price? Not in the slightest.

On the flip side, seeing Star Trek this weekend was an incredible treat, and reminded me just exactly what the appeal of IMAX was in the first place, and all for the same cost as a ticket at a FakeMAX theater. I'm completely amazed by the lack of business sense IMAX has in setting up these FakeMAX theaters and refusing to differentiate between them. It is utter and complete brand suicide, ruining decades of establishing their name only to make a quick buck on theater licensing deals.

Certainly the backlash has begun to gain momentum, and you can read some more details about it elsewhere. Personally, I'll never buy a FakeMAX ticket ever again, but they did get me once. I bet they'll get a lot of people once, but after that? There's no way you'd go back again, ever. These theaters might be getting a few suckers right now, but in the future, I honestly expect FakeMAX sales to take a nosedive. And rightfully so.

In the meantime, don't fall victim to FakeMAX screens! While the actual IMAX website won't tell you which ones are real, internet heroes are already on the task of sorting out what's what. And just in case your theater isn't on the list, just ask yourself this: Is my IMAX theater about six stories tall? No? Then give that FakeMAX screen the boot.

Posted by Kevin on 12:35 PM

4 comments:

Lauren said...

The people of IMAX actually replied to Ansari's outrage: http://nymag.com/daily/entertainment/2009/05/imax_ceo_responds_to_azizgate.html

Their response is rather hilarious.

As a side note, in real life, Ansari is super cool. He performed stand up at FSU back when I went there and then after the show Samir took him out drinking. Now they're twitter friends. Awww.

Colure said...

Yeah, REAL IMAX is *definitely* the way to watch a movie. ;)

Kevin said...

I hadn't seen that response, but that's absolutely ridiculous. I don't know who's behind the wheel of IMAX, but they're driving it over a bridge.

Man, Samir's just twitter friends with everyone cool

Yeah, real IMAX is really sweet. That's what makes the brand suicide all the more tragic

Lauren said...

More IMAX news!! http://nymag.com/daily/entertainment/2009/05/imax_has_been_cheating_moviego.html

Yeah, they're definitely crazy. To this day I still haven't seen an IMAX film, which is kind of sad. I guess it's good, though - I continue sticking it to the man!

And i'll also continue pretending that I never said that last line.

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