Blockbusters could get bigger - Imax-style

Story by Jack Foley

BLOCKBUSTER movies are set to get even bigger, if the London Imax has its way.

The cinema giant has reportedly signed up with the Creative Artists’ Agency (CAA), one of the biggest talent agencies in Hollywood, in an attempt to show some of the year’s highest-grossing films on its giant screens. CAA, for its part, represents A-list stars such as Tom Cruise, as well as relationships with many of Tinseltown’s top directors and studios.

Imax is hoping to be able to persuade film companies to let it show up to six Hollywood films a year, all of which could be easily adapted to be shown on the huge screens (including the one at Waterloo).

The company has already successfully shown Disney’s Fantasia 2000 and Beauty and the Beast on its format and is due to screen Apollo 13, Ron Howard’s Oscar-winner, starring Tom Hanks, later this year.

The cinema chain offers both 2D and Imax 3D images on curved screens up to 10 storeys high, using the latest film technology.

Until recently, the Imax cinema in London has shown largely science or nature films because of the expense involved in converting Hollywood films to their format. Films usually need to have been specially made for the Imax format and are shot using special cameras on much larger film.

But the company has recently developed a digital remastering technology, allowing conventional 35mm films to be transferred to the format needed for a sharp picture on one of their screens.

It views the deal with CAA as ‘an important next step’ in securing films for simultaneous release in both Imax and usual format.

The company could also significantly boost its profits by being able to show major films in its cinemas on the day of general release. It already plans to show Disney’s latest cartoon, Treasure Planet, on the same day as it is released at cinemas in America.