Summer blockbuster movies are literally getting bigger and bigger
with the evolution of high-definition technology.
Movies shot on 35mm film -- standard format used at commercial
theaters -- are beginning to be “repurposed,” or transferred to 70mm
prints, a large-format film used for screenings at
specially-configured theaters such as IMAX.
An example of the growing trend is the large-format version of
Warner Bros.’ “The Matrix Reloaded.” It is scheduled to be released
May 29, two weeks after its 35mm release."This represents a beginning
of a paradigm shift for the industry,” said Robert Dennis, the
president of the Large Format Cinema Assn. and the director of sales
and marketing for Burbank-based CFI Laboratories.
“The Matrix Revolutions,” the third installment of the series, is
slated for a November opening and will utilize another budding
phenomenon in the large-format film industry called “day and date,”
meaning 35mm and 70mm are printed and released simultaneously.
The turning point that sparked major movie studio’s interest came
in 1999 after Disney and IMAX succeeded with attracting audiences to
“Fantasia 2000.” And since last year, Dennis said, a growing number
of Hollywood producers have inquired about the industry.
Repeated attempts to reach Warner Bros. officials for comment were
unsuccessful. Disney officials declined to comment for this story.
According to Large Format Examiner, a trade publication, about 14
movies are scheduled for release on large-format screens this year,
down from 23 in 2002. That figure, the publication reported, is
expected to increase because large-format production costs that range
from $3 million to $5 million should drop as technological
advancements of new digital and photochemical tools rise.
To some professionals in the industry, that end result will be
“For me, it’s like driving your car and having the speakers play
your favorite music,” said Pam Gordon, president of Burbank- based
RPG Productions, a post-production company.
“It feels like you are there with the sound and large image, and
why wouldn’t [an audience member] want to [feel like they are part
of] something like ‘The Matrix’?”