Imax and DreamWorks teaming up

I was well into my 20s before I saw my first Imax film, because I led a deprived childhood. Also, possibly, because Imax didn’t exist when I was a young thing, and then there was no Imax theater where I was living, so it wasn’t until I was on a business trip to Vancouver that I first got to experience the joy and wonder of a really big screen, surround sound that just about blew me out of my seat, and—of course—those cool plastic glasses that made everything 3-dimensional.

I fell immediately and deeply in love with the entire experience, even though one of the movies I saw was about Shackleton’s Antarctic Expedition. I’m not sure that it’s less horrifying to watch freezing men slaughter and eat their dogs when everything is super-huge. (To its credit, that one didn’t have any 3D effects, at least.)

Anyway.

What was my point here? Oh! Yes! I remember now. My point is that Imax is cool, and there’s about to be a whole lot more Imax coolness, because last week DreamWorks signed a 4-movie deal with Imax:

Imax and DreamWorks have agreed to release the studio’s first three 3D motion pictures worldwide in Imax 3D: “Monsters vs. Aliens” in March 2009, “How to Train Your Dragon” in November 2009 and “Shrek Goes Forth” in May 2010. A fourth DreamWorks title, “Kung Fu Panda,” will be released in Imax’s 2D format in June 2008. The films will be distributed by Paramount Pictures, a unit of Viacom Inc. (VIA).

Earlier this year, DreamWorks announced plans to release all its computer- animated films in 3D starting in 2009. It was welcome news for all that had a stake in the emerging 3D film industry, such as privately held Real D, the leading provider of digital 3D projection technology. At the time, DreamWorks made no specific mention of Imax and its giant-screen format.

“Obviously, DreamWorks is placing a large amount of strategic focus on 3-D and we’re gratified to be part of their launch platform,” Richard Gelfond, co-chief executive of Imax, told Dow Jones.

The piece goes on to discuss how Imax “is now on the threshold of a transition to digital” and looking to secure as many studio deals as possible, which, obviously.

As a parent who still lives in a town without an Imax theater (clearly I just keep setting up camp in the wrong sorts of towns), I wonder what this will mean for “regular” theaters. Will this deal (and similar ones) have any effect on the play time these animated movies—the ones my kids want to see—get at conventional theaters? Will these Imax deals herald the increase in Imax theaters? Because I have to tell you, it wouldn’t hurt my feelings one bit if there was an Imax theater ’round here. It already costs an arm and a leg to go out to the movies—it might as well be a total sensory experience as long as we’re dishing out the bucks.

But I’m going to go on record right now with this: Monsters vs. Aliens in 3D? I will drive to my nearest major city for that one, because that sounds like all kinds of awesome. Erm, I mean, according to my kids. Yeah.

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