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This article was published 16/5/2011 (3445 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
WINNIPEG is getting a new, 433 seat Imax venue at Polo Park Silver City in time for the debuts of Imax-friendly summer features such as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (July 15) and Transformers: Dark of the Moon (July 1).
The theatre should be ready to roll July 1, according to Cineplex vice-president Pat Marshall. Polo Park's Cinema 7 will be equipped with an Imax digital projection system and a screen measuring 19.5 by 10.8 metres, about 30 per cent larger than the existing screen.
The Polo Park screen will be slightly smaller than the Imax screen in the Portage Place theatre, which measures 22 by 17 metres.
For Winnipeg moviegoers, the most significant effect of the upgrade is that we will not have to wait for Imax 3-D presentations. Typically, Hollywood blockbusters released in Imax format have taken weeks or even months beyond their release date to reach the Portage Place venue after the films had completed their runs in larger cities such as Toronto or Vancouver. Marshall says Silver City will now get films in the Imax format simultaneously with the general release.
She could not divulge the cost of the new digital Imax projection system. "It's a proprietary element," she said, but she did confirm the price of an Imax screening will be higher than the average movie admission.
At Silver City Polo Park, general admission for an adult is $10.25 and admission to a 3-D film is $13.25.
Marshall says the premium for an Imax 3-D film is $6, meaning the cost of an Imax screening should come in at $16.25.
The Imax theatre will replace an auditorium currently outfitted with a 35-millimetre projection system. That cinema will be closed for renovations for about 10 days before the opening of the Imax cinema.
The Imax film-projection facility at Portage Place is a huge, cumbersome system. By contrast, the Imax digital system is only twice the size of a current digital projection unit, Marshall says. The move may put some stress on the Portage Place theatre, which only upgraded to 3-D in early 2006. At that time, the original Imax venue had adopted the 3-D format in a bid to keep afloat after losing money.
Clare MacKay, marketing and communications manager of the Forks North Portage Partnership, which runs the downtown Imax theatre, says she is unsure about the impact of a second Imax theatre in Winnipeg.
But she says she hopes it will have a positive effect on selling the Imax brand, especially as Cineplex is expected to put more money into marketing the Imax experience.
MacKay said the downtown venue's biggest strength is corporate and school bookings involving the Imax's slate of nature films, and she expressed uncertainty about whether the Polo Park Imax will be inclined to book those films.
Silver City Polo Park is one of three new Cineplex Imax theatres to open across Canada this year.
In a way, Randall King was born into the entertainment beat.
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