Jan 7, 2009

Entertainment - Imax to make movie experience in India more enthralling

Kolkata: Imax Corporation, one of the world's leading entertainment technology companies, would remaster Bollywood films once the country has at least 10 Imax theatres.

At present India has four Imax theatres and by 2009, the number is expected to touch nine. Imax currently remasters Hollywood films into the largest film format in motion picture history that is ten times the size of the normal 35mm movies one watches in theatres.

Remastering a single movie cost around $10 million now, so huge expense is a major restraint to format Bollywood films. "We would be happy to remaster Bollywood films and we might approach producers there or they might approach us, but the huge expense is a concern," said John M Schreiner, vice president (northern Europe , Russia and Central Asia ) of Imax Corp.

He was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a press meet to unveil the first Imax theatre in the city, and fourth in India , on Tuesday. Imax has plans to come up with four more theatres in Chennai and Bangalore , two in each, by 2010. Another such theatre is scheduled to come up in Gurgaon in the later part of this year, according to Schreiner.

"Altogether, by 2010 India would have nine Imax theatres," he said. When asked about the effects of economic slowdown the industry is facing, he said: "Cinema is a recession-proof industry, so it has not been affected."

The Imax theatre at Mani Square has a 65ft high and 86ft wide screen and can accommodate 450 viewers with 29 recliners. 3D format films would be exhibited in the theatre which is spread over an area of 13,000 sq ft along with a sound system of 12,000 watts of uncompressed power.

Ticket prices would be around Rs 200 and special concessions would be given to students, he said. At present, Imax theatre network consists of more than 295 Imax theatres across 42 countries, out of which 60% is located in North America . "In 2009, 100 more Imax theatres would come up in all these countries," Schreiner told reporters. The largest Imax theatre is in Sydney which is about 28 metre high and the largest in India is in Hyderabad , which is around 23 metre high.

Imax Corp basically provides cameras to Hollywood movies, assists in their post production work and does master releases of the same. In Kolkata, Imax has tied up with Aeren R to come up with the theatre. Imax has provided the theatre technology and it has been developed by Aeren R.

"Around Rs 18 crors have been invested for the development of this theatre in Kolkata," said Samir Malhotra, vice president (entertainment) Aeren R. This is the first venture of Aeren R with Imax and the second one would be the upcoming theatre in Gurgaon which would be involving another Rs 20 crores, he said.

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