Many cinemagoers in the city were disappointed that they could not see 'Dhoom 3' in Imax. The makers did not release the film in Imax format, which is needed for the giant screen.
Not only 'Dhoom 3', recent Hollywood releases like 'Gravity', 'Hunger Games: Catching Fire' and 'Hobbit' were also not screened at "Prasads Imax" and T. Srikanth, general manager, Operations, says that the makers of the films had released only digital prints, which were not suitable for Imax screening.
Digital prints, which is the norm in the industry, are compatible with multiplex projectors, but Imax screens are 15 times bigger and need special prints, which are very costly.
“Most multiplexes in India have a digital format projection. Even we have a digital screen in our multiplex, but when it comes to the Imax screen, digital prints don’t work. The screen is 15 times bigger than the regular screen."
“Our projector needs an analog print (old type of print) which the filmmakers didn’t provide,” he says, adding, “If we screened the same print on the Imax screen, it would not fill the screen and there would be white space around the picture.”
In India, "Prasads Imax" is the only theatre with a 92 X 72 feet screen and with a seating capacity of more than 600.
When we mention that the films are being screened in the Imax theatres of other cities, Srikanth says, “Those are normal multiplex theatres. The screen is of normal size and the seating capacity is not more than 200. So they can screen the digital prints at those Imax screens.”
He adds that the management is looking to change over to laser technology so that these films can be shown on the Imax screen. “There is a plan to change the present projection technology into laser projection, which may come in 2015,” says Srikanth, adding that the makers of 'Spiderman' and 'Avatar' had released Imax prints and they had been screened accordingly. An Imax film print can cost up to $1,00,000.
Suresh Babu, theatre owner, distributor and producer also pointed out that it was not possible to screen all movies on the Imax screen. “An Imax print costs a lot and most of the films here are not shot with Imax cameras,” he says. “Even if you want to shoot, the production cost is huge and you can’t buy a print here in India,” he says.
Srikanth adds. “If the Imax theatre and the producer feels that the film will earn good revenue, they then provide Imax prints.” The Imax print for the super-hit 'Avatar' had cost around $60,000, he said.
He adds that there are a few off-beat films like 'Under the Deep Sea', which were shot with Imax cameras, “It’s a 40-minutes film with special effects which can be screened regularly.”