IMAX Screws "Cars 3" with Non-3D Limited Release


It's hard to believe there was a time when IMAX was a great place to go for animated movies.  "The Polar Express," "How to Train Your Dragon," Beowulf," and "Kung fu Panda" are some of the best theater experiences I've ever have had, and other audience members who experienced them would likely tell you the same.  The last time IMAX was serious about animation was with "Zootopia."  Since the release of "The Lorax" though they have largely been wishy washy in releasing animated movies in the states.  "Kung fu Panda 3," "Tangled," "Despicable Me 2," "Frozen," "Big Hero 6," and many other movies have had international IMAX releases, but not domestically (despite how financially successful they were).  "How to Train Your Dragon 2," "The Secret Life of Pets," and "Inside Out" all got IMAX releases, but they got them in VERY limited screen numbers (heck, "Inside Out" - the best film of the year - was just on two nationwide while "Jurassic World" kept the vast majority of the screens despite being in its third week).

This has been bothersome because animated films are routinely some of the highest grossing films of the year, and 3D fits the vast majority of these movies like a glove.  Trouble started a few months ago when "The LEGO Batman Movie" (which is available on BluRay 3D this week) was released on about 500 IMAX screens.  Of the 500, I counted three that projected the movie in 3D (none of them in CA or NY).  This was a strange thing to do and I couldn't figure out why they would largely only be projecting it in 2D when a perfectly serviceable 3D version was available.  It turns out this wasn't an oversight though: IMAX seems to be deliberately avoiding screening animated movies in 3D.  Pixar's "Cars 3" is opening wide tomorrow in theaters.  Less than 300 IMAX screens will be showing the movie with most opting to keep "Wonder Woman" around for a third week of release (yikes, I'm getting a feeling of deja vu here).

This time, NONE of the IMAX screenings are in 3D!  This is especially bizarre and troubling.  Like I stated before, 3D and animation tend to go hand-in-hand with each other, so it's especially bad to watch the movie without the extra effect.  What's stranger though is that kids tend to LIKE 3D!  What's more, IMAX 3D costs the exact same as a regular IMAX ticket, so why would the chain not project it in this way?  It doesn't even cost the theater anymore to project in 3D as opposed to 2D.  I've reached out to IMAX Corporation for clarification on why they are releasing animated movies this way and if this is a new policy, but they have not returned my e-mails.  In the meantime this is a disappointing trend.  For the first time in a LONG time, I will be passing up seeing a movie in IMAX for a standard theater!  IMAX theaters are supposed to present the movies in the best possible way.  By excluding the 3D for movies that were shot with 3D in mind, they are, in effect, crippling the movie, and I can't support that.


  1. Anonymous said...:

    Thanks for reporting, very disappointing.

  1. They are also doing this "only show it in 2D, not 3D" thing with Despicable Me 3 in my area.

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