Duluth fails to support Omnimax Theater

posted by danpetitpas on November 20, 2008 at 9:50 am

DULUTH, MN — The Duluth Omnimax Theater has lost money for at least the past four years and the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center will probably turn the Omnimax into a Hockey Hall of Fame when the lease is up in 2011.

The theater drew large audiences during the first two months it was open in 1996, but then attendance fell well below expectations. During the last four years, the Omnimax has rung up a debt of over $200,000.

The director of the DECC noted that Duluth probably isn’t big enough to support a full IMAX theater and that it’s just hanging on.

IMAX Corp. itself is experiencing difficulty as its stock price fell by half from $6.50 to $3.50 last September. IMAX lost another $2.1 million in the third quarter.

Read more in the Post Bulletin.

Comments (3)

CSWalczak on November 20, 2008 at 12:18 pm

I would also suggest that the problem is that it’s an Omnimax rather than an IMAX; there is a far smaller number of films made for Omnimax presentatation compared to the number that are available in IMAX. Most of these domed Omnimax theaters are attached to museums or similar facilities and most of the films are documentaries. IMAX theaters, now often a part of multiplexes as well as museums, can also show conventional 70mm and other films. To succeed in a smaller city, the ability to change the program more frequently is probably essential.

MPol on November 20, 2008 at 12:29 pm

What a shame! Even though I don’t live in Duluth, MN or the midwest generally, it’s very disconcerting to hear of a theatre losing money like that. Sure hope that something can be worked out. I agree with you, CWalczak. The Omnimax doesn’t sound like it’s holding up very well. IMAX Theatres seem like they’re the order of the day, if one gets the drift.

viper24601 on November 20, 2008 at 4:34 pm

I totally agree with CWalczak. The new CineMagic theatre in St. Michael, MN has a regular IMAX screen (45x70) and recently had a very successful run of “The Dark Knight” for three months. The availability of 35mm movies converted to the IMAX 15x70 format greatly increases the revenue of the IMAX operaton, rather than being limited to the documentary films, etc… While the St. Michael IMAX screen has hosted such documentaries as “NASCAR 3D” and “Space Station 3D” – the real bread and butter comes from such Hollywood hits as “300”, “Spiderman 3” and “Dark Knight”. Sad to see though as I have been to the Duluth Omnimax a few times. Hoe this isn’t true!

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