Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Is a Xerox Still a Xerox If It's Done on an HP Machine?

First of all, I apologize for the lack of recent postings. As with some of my fellow contributors, real life has gotten in the way of...well...everything else. Which is why I have not yet seen the new Star Trek film everyone is so hip to, lately; although I did enjoy the reference to it's plot in last week's episode of Fringe. Which brings me to the subject of this post.

If you're wondering what Star Trek has to do with the rather existential headline above, allow me to illustrate. Hands up, everyone who saw Star Trek: The IMAX Experience last weekend? Those with your hands up, are you sure? I mean, yes you paid the extra money to see it in IMAX, but what does that really mean?

When you say "IMAX" to me, I automatically think of a giant, 5 story screen; when you say "Doobie Brothers," I automatically think of What's Happening, but that's a whole other story.

Apparently, IMAX is having a trouble with their branding. It seems that since 1970, IMAX has cultivated their status as the leader in big screen projection; Yay for them and good job. Well, in 2008, the co-CEO of Imax Corp, Richard Gelfond, decided to move the brand away from what they built, and mold IMAX into "the best immersive experience on the planet." All well and good. The company has since invested in tens of millions of dollars in a joint venture with AMC Entertainment and Regal Entertainment Group to create a digital projection experience. In a nutshell, a nice picture with good sound on a slightly larger screen; essentially, a new product from Imax Corporation and again, all on the up-and-up.

Here's the problem; there is no differentiation that the film you are about to pay $5 more to see in IMAX, is not being shown on a 5+ story screen (although reports have it that an Imax VP and several, if not all, of the company's exhibition partners were pushing for the name "IMAX Digital"). Gelfond gave a spurious analogy to BMW, asking if the 3-series isn't a real BMW because it's smaller than the 7-series (although not acknowledging that BMW differentiates their cars with series numbers and huge price differences; I know, what an ass, right?).

So what can you do? Well, a couple of things:

  • Blogger/comedian/actorAziz Ansari in this post calls for a boycott of AMC Theaters, Regal Theaters, and IMAX. I'm inclined to agree with him, based on the arrogance of the Imax CEO, and the party line of the theater manager mentioned in the post. I'm all about voting with your dollar.

  • See the film at a better theater (like the Arclight Cinemas in Hollywood) for the same premium and less of the bullshit

  • If you absolutely still want to give your money to IMAX, ask the person selling you the ticket what the size of the screen in the auditorium is. If they don't know, have them ask a manager. If they still don't know, buy your ticket and find out for yourself; if the screen in the auditorium looks like a regular sized screen, go back out and ask for your money back and purchase a regular-priced ticket for a regular sized screen.

For those of you that saw the film on "IMAX" last weekend (do you still have your hands up? Put them down, sillies), and had no idea you were jipped, write a letter:

AMC guest relations can be reached at
AMC Entertainment Inc.
P.O. Box 725489
Atlanta, GA 31139-9923
Better yet, I'd send a copy of your letter to the President and CEO, Gerardo I. Lopez, at the following address:
AMC Entertainment Inc.
920 Main Street
Kansas City, MO 64105.

Regal Entertainment Customer Relation can be reached at 1-877-TELLREGAL or 1-877-835-5734; their CEO, Amy Miles (who just took over for the now Executive Chairman of the Board Mike Campbell...better cc him, just in case) can be reached at the following address:
Regal Entertainment Group
7132 Regal Lane
Knoxville, Tennessee 37918

Don't bother writing a letter to Imax CEO Gelfond; he's clearly a douchenozzle. Instead, express your disapproval to their Chairman of the Board, Bradley J. Wechsler at:
IMAX Corporation
2525 Speakman Drive
Mississauga, Ontario
L5K 1B1, Canada

Happy protest, kids.

POPped up on my soapbox, by TheEdley

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