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Posted at 12:19 PM ET, 09/26/2008

More Imax Theaters Arrive

By Jen Chaney

What's that? You can see "Eagle Eye" in Imax?

Imax movies in the Washington area? They're not just for Smithsonian museums anymore.

As of today, both the AMC Hoffman in Alexandria and the AMC Potomac Mills in Woodbridge will screen "Eagle Eye: The Imax Experience," the first of many Imax movies that will regularly run at these theaters. An auditorium at each multiplex has been converted into an Imax screening room, complete with a floor-to-ceiling curved screen, Imax projection system and Imax digital audio. The AMCs in Columbia and White Marsh also have scored Imax auditoriums.

This is a significant development since, until now, the only place to see an Imax movie locally was at one of the three Smithsonian museums that house Imax theaters -- Natural History, Air & Space and Udvar-Hazy. While the Smithsonians occasionally play Hollywood fare (see this summer's run of the Imax "Dark Knight"), their focus is much more on the documentary and educational side of things. Now Imax flicks of the blockbuster variety will be more widely available to those of us in the Washington area who like our movies as mammoth and loud as possible.

The efforts here are part of a nationwide push by the Imax Corp. to bring first-run Imax flicks to more theaters. Why? The usual reason: These Imax films are doing well and making money at a time when movie theaters are struggling. For example, the Imax version of the blockbuster "Dark Knight" accounted for roughly eight percent of the film's overall box office revenue. And that's not a trivial amount of cash.

In the coming months, keep an eye out for more first-run Imax movies at AMC Hoffman and Potomac Mills, including titles like "Madagascar 2: Escape to Africa" in November, "The Day the Earth Stood Still" in December and, next spring, "The Watchmen."

As for the Smithsonian theaters, not to worry. Toby Mensforth, vice-president of theaters and concessions for Smithsonian, says Imax operations there will continue as usual. Those venues, especially Udvar-Hazy, will continue to feature some family-friendly, first-run fare in the evenings, in addition to the documentaries that are their hallmark.

-- Jen

By Jen Chaney  | September 26, 2008; 12:19 PM ET
Categories:  Movies  
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Comments

They're not real IMAX screens though. Don't be expecting the same thing that they have at all of the museums. The sceens will be smaller and they're digital projections, not film. I'm going to stick with the Smithsonian screens as much as possible. Dark Knight downtown was amazing.

Posted by: EricS | September 26, 2008 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Silver Spring should gut City Place and connect an IMAX theater to AFI. That would be amazing.

Posted by: Kev | September 30, 2008 12:32 PM | Report abuse

I saw the Stones movie "Shine a Light" at the IMAX at Udvar-Hazy and it was AMAZING!! I also saw the Harry Potter movie there. The bad part about going to Udvar-Hazy: no food allowed inside. But the good part? NO BORING ADVERTISEMENTS! The movie starts when it's supposed to start. FABULOUS!

Posted by: Zuvielekatzen | September 30, 2008 1:38 PM | Report abuse

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