You've decided to watch The Dark Knight Rises in IMAX, but want to make sure it's real IMAX and not fake digital.
Yesterday's post Why You Should Not Watch 'The Dark Knight Rises' in IMAX created a bit of a stir.
One thing I've learned is that a lot of people are going to see The Dark Knight Rise in IMAX. I'm undecided.
I thought I'd address something I wasn't aware of. The difference between "real" and "fake" IMAX.
What Is IMAX?
I'm not gong to give a long technical dimension of IMAX. Slashfilm already did a great job. But I will try and give an explanation in 200 words or less.
Everyone knows IMAX is about big screens. But, the format is not just about big screens. There's a whole experience involved including more powerful sound and a higher resolution. The images are brighter and clearer. It's kind of like watching high-def television.
Right now there are two kinds of IMAX theaters. Ones that were built from the ground up to show IMAX films, like museums, and others that have been converted to IMAX or have been built to show the smaller IMAX digital format.
When the format came in the 1970s there were two things against it: the cameras are huge and the screen is huge. Theaters are already griping about the cost of converting a theater to digital or 3-D. IMAX requires they convert the whole theater and make it six stories high. So, the company came up with digital IMAX. A film can converted after the film is made (post production) like when The Avengers was covered to IMAX.
The company came up with a way of converting an existing theater to show a type of IMAX format. So, the majority of commercial IMAX theaters are digital.
So, what's the problem? Much like post-production 3-D, there can be a big difference between true IMAX and digital IMAX.
Most people don't care. The screen's bigger and the sound is louder and that's enough, but for some, it makes a big difference. One viewer described it to Roger Ebert this way.
"As soon as I walked in the theatre, I was disgusted. This was not an IMAX screen. Simply extending a traditional multiplex screen to touch the sides and floor does not constitute an IMAX experience. An IMAX screen is gargantuan. It is like looking at the side of a large building, and it runs vertically in a pronounced way. It is not a traditional movie screen shape....This screen was pathetic by IMAX standards."
How To Find A Real IMAX Theater To Watch The Dark Knight Rises
Most of the time, it's not clearly marked which is which. There are two options.
One, call your local IMAX theater and ask if it's digital IMAX or 70mm.
Two, head to your favorite movie ticket site (ex. Fandango) and look for your local IMAX theater. Then, compare it against the list of theaters showing IMAX below.
Here's a list of theaters that are showing "true" IMAX on a six-story screen. Some states have none, while others (like California) have a bunch. For now, this is a list for the United States, but I hope to have an International list soon.
This list is based on the IMAX official website and LFexaminer. Please note, this is not a list of IMAX theaters, but a list of IMAX theaters showing The Dark Knight Rises in "real" format.
- Cineplex Colossus Langley IMAX Theatre
- Cineplex SilverCity Riverport IMAX Theatre
- AMC Metreon 16 & IMAX
- AMC Universal CityWalk Stadium 19 & IMAX
- Desert IMAX
- Edwards Fresno Stadium 22 & IMAX
- Edwards Irvine Spectrum 21 & IMAX
- Edwards Ontario Palace 22 & IMAX
- Esquire IMAX*
- Hackworth IMAX Dome, The Tech Museum*
- Rave 18 & IMAX*
- Regal Hacienda Crossings Stadium 21 & IMAX*
- Cinemark Carefree Circle IMAX Theatre*
- UA Colorado Center Stadium 9 & IMAX*
- Autonation IMAX, Museum of Discovery & Science*
- IMAX Dome, Museum of Science & Industry*
- Regal Pointe Orlando Stadium 20 & IMAX*
- AmStar 16 & IMAX*
- Regal Mall of Georgia Stadium 20 & IMAX*
- AMC Star Council Bluffs & IMAX*
- Blank IMAX Dome, Science Center of Iowa*
- Edwards Boise Stadium 22 & IMAX*
- Cinemark Seven Bridges IMAX Theatre*
- Navy Pier IMAX*
- Regal Lincolnshire 20 & IMAX*
- IMAX, Indiana State Museum*
- IMAX, Portage Place*
- Tempur-Pedic® IMAX 3D Theater, Jordan's Furniture Natick*
- Tempur-Pedic® IMAX 3D Theater, Jordan's Furniture Reading*
- Celebration! Cinema Grand Rapids North & IMAX*
- IMAX, The Henry Ford*
- Great Clips IMAX, Minnesota Zoo*
- Branson's IMAX, Entertainment Complex*
- OMNIMAX, Saint Louis Science Center*
- Ronnies 20 Cine & IMAX*
- Springfield 11 & IMAX
- The Charlotte Observer IMAX Dome, Discovery Place*
- AMC Oakview 24 & IMAX
- IMAX Dome, Liberty Science Center*
- IMAX, Tropicana Casino & Resort*
- Brenden Theatres and IMAX at the Palms*
- AMC Loews Lincoln Square 13 & IMAX*
- Cinemark Tinseltown USA & IMAX*
- IMAX, Palisades Center*
- Regal New Roc City 18 & IMAX*
- Cinemark Tulsa & IMAX*
- Coliseum Mississauga & IMAX*
- Colossus Vaughan & IMAX*
- Scotiabank Toronto & IMAX*
- SilverCity Gloucester IMAX Theatre*
- Cinemark Galleria at Pittsburgh Mills & IMAX*
- Rangos OMNIMAX, Carnegie Science Center*
- Select Medical IMAX, Whitaker Center for Science & the Arts*
- Tuttleman IMAX, The Franklin Institute*
- UA King of Prussia Stadium 16 & IMAX*
- Cinema Banque Scotia Montreal & IMAX*
- IMAX, Canadian Museum of Civilization*
- IMAX, Les Galerias de la Capitale*
- Providence Place Cinemas 16 & IMAX*
- Kramer IMAX, Saskatchewan Science Centre*
- Regal Opry Mills Stadium 20 & IMAX*
- Alamo IMAX Theater Rivercenter*
- Cinemark 17 & IMAX - Dallas*
- Edwards Houston Marq*e 23 & IMAX*
- IMAX, The Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum*
- Omni, Fort Worth Museum of Science & History*
- Santikos Palladium IMAX*
- Santikos Silverado IMAX*
- ATK IMAX, Clark Planetarium*
- Airbus IMAX, Stephen F. Udvar-Hazy Center*
- Boeing IMAX, Pacific Science Center*
- Lockheed Martin IMAX, National Air & Space Museum*
- Samuel C. Johnson IMAX, National Museum of Natural History*
- AMC Star Fitchburg 18 & IMAX*
- Cineplex Scotiabank Theatre Chinook IMAX Theatre*
- Cineplex Scotiabank West Edmonton Mall IMAX Theatre*
- Colossus Langley Imax, Langley (Vancouver)
- SilverCity Riverport Imax, Richmond (Vancouver)
- Scotiabank Imax, Toronto
- Coliseum Mississauga Imax, Mississauga (Toronto)
- Colossus Vaughan Imax, Woodbridge-Vaughan (Toronto)
- SilverCity Gloucester Imax, Gloucester (Ottawa)
- Canadian Museum Imax, Hull (Ottawa)
- Cinema Banque Scotia Imax, Montreal
- Imax Theatre, Quebec City
- Kramer Imax Regina
- Scotiabank Chinook Imax, Calgary
- Scotiabank Imax, Edmonton
- Portage Place Imax, Winnipeg
- Empire Theatres at Bayers Lake Imax, Halifax
The official website is
What do you think? Is there a difference between IMAX and IMAX digital? Do you care? Are you going to look for an IMAX theater showing true IMAX?