By Kristin MolinaroMay 22, 2009
The Imax Theatre at Patriot Park beckons moviegoers to immerse themselves in the larger-than-life action of Hollywood hits this summer.
The Dark Knight will run a final weekend at Imax before the theater kicks off a summer filled with big-name movies such as Monsters vs. Aliens in 3D, Star Trek, Night at the Museum 2 and Transformers 2.
The Imax theater, one of only three in the state and 182 worldwide, opened in March inside the National Infantry Museum.
The immense size of its five-story-high screen, comparable to the Columbus Bank and Trust building in downtown Columbus, overwhelms the audience with sights and sounds in a way regular cinema can't, said Joe Kleiman, director of attractions and Imax programming.
"When you go to a movie theater, you are seeing a film. With Imax, you are experiencing it," Kleiman said.
"It's amazing. We wondered if it would make a difference if we sat in the front row versus the back row. We sat in the middle and were completely enveloped by the movie. We learned it doesn't matter where you sit," said Melinda Topor, who attended a showing of Mysteries of Egypt with her husband, retired Air Force Tech Sgt. Dave Topor.
From the design of the auditorium's 12,000-watt sound system to the 18K resolution of the film, the advantages of the Imax theater are as clear as the images displayed on its 70-foot-wide screen, Kleiman said.
The Imax theater offers nine times higher film resolution than found at most cinemas, he said.
The $6 million theater in south Columbus houses an auditorium with stadium-style seating and two elevators for wheelchair access to both the lower and upper rows. Additionally, a team of experts tested each of the auditorium's 289 seats to ensure each offers the best Imax experience, Kleiman said.
The sound system features 70 speakers and six channels spread throughout the theater, behind the screen and even on the ceiling to surround the audience with sound.
The projection suite includes two $1.5 million projectors.
The benefit of having two projectors is the turn-around time between movies. One movie reel can be loaded on a projector at the same time a different movie is being played onscreen with the other projector, Kleiman said. Also, some movies, such as Monsters vs. Aliens, are played in 3D and need two projectors running simultaneously in order to produce the three-dimensional effect for the audience.
The suite also includes a $200,000 digital cinema projector to play Blu-Ray DVDs on the big screen for special events. All the technology at the Imax theater translates to the ultimate movie-going experience, Kleiman said.
To capitalize on what the theater offers visitors, Kleiman said the theater would soon have special movie nights. Starting with Saving Private Ryan on Memorial Day, the theater will begin showing a military-themed movie at 7 p.m. every Monday for $6.
Other films on the Military Monday slate include The Longest Day playing June 1 and episodes of Band of Brothers later in the year.
Kleiman said there is a plan to bring video-gaming nights and themed movie nights, such as Big Lebowski night, to Imax.
"We've thought about combining a showing of Big Lebowski with a dinner and bar hour at the Fife and Drum restaurant inside the museum," Kleiman said.
A movie series featuring U2 and the Rolling Stones concerts is planned for September and October. Later in October, the theater plans to feature Halloween flicks. From October to Thanksgiving, the new Harry Potter movie will be at Imax. Because portions of the film were shot in 3D using Imax technology, the scenes will only be viewable in 3D in Imax theaters.
While the theater expands its show times for new movies, the Imax will continue to run documentaries and National Geographic specials that appeal to the military audience.
Everest and Mysteries of Egypt are currently playing at the theater.
Everest documents a group of world-class adventurers as they overcome tragedy and deadly obstacles to complete an expedition to the top of the world, according to the movie's description. The film is directed by David Breshears, who was born in the old hospital on Fort Benning while his father, an airborne major, was stationed at the post, Kleiman said. The film is based upon the book Into Thin Air.
Mysteries of Egypt reveals the truth surrounding the rumors of the Mummy's Curse, the discovery of King Tutankhamun's tomb and the Egyptian way of life. Sweeping panoramic views captured on the Imax screen leave little to the imagination of what it would be like to climb atop a pyramid overlooking the empire of Egypt. The National Geographic film traces the history of the desert civilization, its downfall and its lasting legacy. Omar Sharif narrates the special.
In the fall, Coral Reef Adventure will come to the Imax screen, Kleiman said. The documentary will follow marine biologists as they try to uncover what is causing coral reefs to die. Also in the fall, the Imax will feature a special on the expedition of Lewis and Clark.
The theater does not offer first-run movies, Kleiman said, because there is a movie theater on post receiving the new releases. Kleiman said eventually he would like to see the Imax get more of the first-runs.
In the meantime, the theater is working to continue bringing popular movies to the big screen.
For show times, admission pricing and more information, call 706-685-5800 or visit www.nationalinfantrymuseum.com and click on Imax.