IMAX to deploy portable theaters in the U.S. and China

posted by CSWalczak on June 29, 2010 at 4:40 am

NEW YORK, NY — The IMAX Corp. has announced plans to build and deploy portable theaters to serve areas of the U.S. and China. The first will be unveiled in September, and apparently will resemble inflatable tennis bubbles.

IMAX hopes to unveil its first portable theater at an event in New York this September, said IMAX spokeswoman Sarah Gormley. The theaters, which the company likens to a tennis bubble, have inflatable exterior walls and come with full seating for an audience of about 450 people. Gormley says the interior walls and ceiling come acoustically treated to ensure the sound quality of a normal IMAX film.

There is more in the Wall Street Journal.

Comments (6)

Chris Utley
Chris Utley on June 29, 2010 at 5:38 am

SAY WHAT? PORTABLE IMAX? LOL!

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on June 29, 2010 at 6:15 am

It is not as funny an idea as it might first appear; Cinerama actually devised and deployed a portable Cinerama theater in the 1960’s called Itinerama. There’s a poster including a picture of it on this page: View link. (Scroll down to April 24). I don’t know how many were actually built, but I recall reading that one of them was blown apart during a major storm.

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on June 29, 2010 at 9:16 am

For those interested, here’s a page about Itinerama, with pictures, from Roland Lataille’s great Cinerama site: http://cinerama.topcities.com/ctrichmond.htm

KenLayton
KenLayton on June 29, 2010 at 3:25 pm

Carnival operators beat them to it 30 years ago with the “Cinema 180” attraction.

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on June 29, 2010 at 7:11 pm

I remember those; some of them were semi-permanent installations in amusement parks and at tourist attractions. I used to go to one at the now-closed Geauga Lake Park in Geauga, OH. The films were more like OMNIMAX presentations because they were projected on the inside surface of these domed, inflatable theaters. The films shown were short; no more than about fifteen minutes each. The theaters were designed by a company called Omnivision and the films were made by a German company called Cinevision. There were no seats; the patrons stood, though I think there were rails if one got woozy, as there are in the Circlevision 360 theaters in the Disney parks. I found three pictures:
1) Unknown location: View link
2) West Germany, 1979: View link
3) At a street fair in the United Kingdom: View link

Toby
Toby on July 5, 2010 at 5:02 am

The former Geauga Lake Park near Cleveland once had “Cinema 180”, which showed IMAX-format short subject films under a dome. Usually the films would consist of subjects that make you feel like you’re in the film itself, ranging from roller coasters to mountains to underwater scenes. The Cinema 180 films were about 15-20 minutes long.

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