‘Catching Fire’ In IMAX: Time To Embrace The Big, Big Screen?

In this week's Hobnobbing, we wonder if the new format is really worth the five extra bucks.

We interrupt your regularly scheduled Finnick speculation to bring you this special announcement: “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” will light up IMAX theaters come November 2013! (OK, the news broke Wednesday, but I don’t write my column until Thursday.) Anyway, this is big (as in 70 feet tall) news … if you like that sort of thing.

While “The Hunger Games” was re-mastered for IMAX screens, director Francis Lawrence intends to shoot entire “Catching Fire” sequences in the larger-than-life format. As my colleague Kevin P. Sullivan noted , this will be only the sixth major studio film to be partially shot in IMAX — news to which my reaction was roughly, “Okie doke…”

See, I’ve never really understood the appeal of IMAX. Isn’t it just for people with poor eyesight who need to see things really large? And why should I pay roughly five extra bucks for the privilege? I have good vision!

To wit, I’ve never purposely sought out an IMAX screening. One time on vacation in Seattle my friend insisted we see “The Lion King” (nearly a decade after its initial release) in IMAX, and since I didn’t want to be a chump, I went along. I’ve probably been to one IMAX movie since (it wasn’t “Avatar,” by the way, my hometown theater is lame), but I can’t help but wonder if I’m missing something.

According to conventional wisdom and my previously mentioned colleague Kevin (who graciously humored my IMAX questions and concerns), the format is considered the height of immersive movie-going technology. (So much more worth the price than 3-D, he says.) Everything’s huge! Everything’s so detailed! Everything else in the theater just disappears! It’s like that guy in the front row wearing the bowler hat festooned with Christmas lights doesn’t exist! Fine, fine. I get it. And I’m willing to give it another try because Katniss and Peeta deserve as much. (It will also give me another ready-made column idea come next Thanksgiving!)

And with speculation swirling that the IMAX-friendly filming will likely focus on the nifty new Quarter Quell arena, I’m simultaneously thrilled and sick to my stomach over the idea of being completely immersed in the bloody battle. Nonetheless, let the IMAX Games begin!

“Catching Fire” hits theaters November 22, 2013.

Are you excited to see “Catching Fire” in IMAX? Or is it much ado about nothing? Sound off in the comments below and tweet me @amymwilk with your thoughts and suggestions for future columns!

Earlier “Hunger Games” columns:
» “Hunger Games”: Five Things We Learned At Movie Awards
» How “Catching Fire” Could Set Taylor Kitsch’s Career Ablaze
» “Hunger Games” At The Movie Awards: Dos And Don’ts
» “Catching Fire” Countdown: What to Watch While You Wait
» Francis Lawrence’s “Catching Fire” To-Do List