None of the above information really applies to the following news, but Ansari is a funny guy and you should know who he is if you don’t already. Up today on the comedian’s personal Tumblr blog, Aziz is Bored, is a post railing against falsely advertised IMAX screenings. In case you’ve been living under a rock buried at the bottom of the Mariana Trench, IMAX is a motion picture format championed by the Canadian IMAX Corporation. Key features include an oversized screen (typically a wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling screen, 72 feet by 53 feet), enhanced sound, higher screen resolutions and digital 3D.
Them’s the basics. In his blog post, Ansari claims that “IMAX is whoring out their brand name and trying to trick people” with screens that are considerably smaller than the standard size. The reason he’s angry is because IMAX tickets carry a higher cost than regular movie tickets, which means that theater-goers are paying higher prices to see movies on near-standard-sized screens. The counterpoint to Ansari’s argument, that you’re still getting IMAX’s higher resolution and enhanced sound, is offset by the fact that those features aren’t necessarily detectable on a smaller screen. IMAX resolutions are higher because they have to be, to accommodate the larger space. Same goes for the enhanced sound.
In fairness, the IMAX corporate website makes no mention of theater specifications for an IMAX screen. The website has this to say on theater geometry: “IMAX’s patented and customized theater geometry maximizes your field of view. The precise positioning and shape of the IMAX screen as well as the acoustical treatment of the walls create an environment that delivers the world’s most immersive movie experience.” One could certainly argue that a 58-foot wide screen – the purported size of the IMAX screen Ansari saw “Star Trek” on – doesn’t maximize the film-goer’s field of view.
What do you say, readers? Is Ansari onto something here? Is IMAX abusing their brand name? Have you had similar experiences with “faux-IMAX theaters? Or is this just another case of a whiny celebrity making a big deal over nothing?