With technologies like Dolby Atmos and, now, IMAX laser projection, it's an exciting time for cinemas. But then it needs to be, because home cinema is getting better and better all the time, and the convenience of being able to stream movies is the biggest threat to cinemas in a long time.
So, after $60million in investment, IMAX has developed a new laser projection system. The first installation will be at the TCL Chinese Theater in LA, and this is the only place you'll be able to see Furious 7 projected with lasers.
Sound gets a boost too, with IMAX laser theaters getting 12 channels of sound - double what existing IMAX screens offer. The really important part of all this though is that laser projection offers much more brightness than traditional projection. That's crucial for things like 3D and HDR movies, and gives a much more impressive cinema experience.
For big screens only
Cinemas that want IMAX with fricking laser beams will need a screen larger than 75 feet according to The Hollywood Reporter, which points out that the TCL Chinese Theater has a 90-foot screen. Apparently IMAX has sold 71 systems already, but the rollout won't reach outside the US and Canada for some time.
Interestingly though, laser is clearly the future of cinema projection because Dolby is also launching Dolby Cinema, which is going to be the gold standard cinema experience. It brings together Atmos sound, high dynamic range and laser projection for the best possible cinema experience.
If cinemas are going to survive they need to make themselves a more attractive option than watching a movie in your underpants at home, and that's a tough job. Fortunately, IMAX does give a jaw-droppingly immersive experience, and it's getting better and brighter albeit quite slowly.
The next Avengers movie, Age of Ultron, will also be getting an IMAX laser release, but that movie isn't shot on the IMAX format, and will be converted using a new version of IMAX's DRM process which converts 35mm films to the much larger IMAX format. This DRM has been redesigned for the laser projection systems too, presumably to take advantage of the extra brightness.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter