Desert IMAX Theatre

68510 East Palm Canyon Drive,
Cathedral City, CA 92234

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The Desert IMAX Theatre is a single screen IMAX theater built in 1999, it is located in Cathedral City. It is also anchored on the other end of the parking lot by the Mary Pickford Theatre. It has an IMAX SR projector showing 15/70 film.

In 2003 the theatre was about to go out of business, and in order to keep tourists coming to other businesses in this part of the desert, the theatre was actually purchased by Cathedral City. SR Entertainment manages the theater. The city has invested about $320,000 each year to keep this IMAX operational.

The theatre itself is quite nice, seating 279 people with a screen that is 70 feet wide by 52 feet high. There is not a bad seat. They show traditional IMAX 15/70 short films in the early afternoon, and then play IMAX DMR versions of Hollywood films, projected in 15/70! With a 3D IMAX ticket selling for $12, this is the best bargain in town!

Due to the success of “Avatar” and “Alice in Wonderland” playing in 3D in 2010, Cathedral City just about broke even on the theatre for the first time ever this year. Because of that, the City Council and Mayor voted on 9/23/2010 to ‘upgrade’ the Desert IMAX Theatre to an all digital venue to be able to afford more titles playing here throughout the year. As of October this year, only 4 Hollywood IMAX films have played here.

It is sad to see this wonderful IMAX theatre lose it’s 70mm film projectors, yet I guess it is better then having it shut down altogether. Now at least it will be the largest digital IMAX screen in Southern California.

Contributed by Rob Alexander

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois
Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on October 21, 2010 at 4:12 pm

Anyone have more info or photos, especially of the booth before it went digital?

No Cathedral is in Cathedral City. It’s named for “Cathedral Canyon” South of town, which is full of rock formations reminiscent of a Cathedral.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 22, 2010 at 6:01 am

The Desert IMAX Theatre was designed by the Seattle architectural firm Stricker Cato Murphy Architects. The firm has designed a number of large-format theaters, several for institutional settings (Seattle Maritime Museum and the Minnesota Zoo, for example) and a few commercial venues as well.

RobertAlex on September 6, 2011 at 12:41 pm

They have installed the two Christie 2K digital machines on top of the SR 15/70 film projectors.

They are keeping both formats.

RobertAlex on November 8, 2011 at 1:22 pm

UltraStar Cinemas has taken over management from SR Entertainment of both the Desert IMAX and the Mary Pickford 14 across the parking lot.

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