* "Star Trek" posts record-breaking box office for IMAX
* Purists call smaller screen version of IMAX inauthentic
By Alex Dobuzinskis
LOS ANGELES, May 12 Imax Corp IMX.TO said on
Tuesday its "Star Trek" screenings grossed a record $8.5
million during the film's first weekend, even as some purists
complained that the company's big screens were not big enough.
The hotly anticipated science fiction movie garnered $79.2
million at U.S. and Canadian box offices over the weekend, and
11 percent of that figure came from Imax screens.
Imax said that was significant because its screens
accounted for less than 2 percent of the venues for "Star
Trek." The old record of $6.3 million was set by "The Dark
Knight" last summer, although that film played on 94 Imax
screens, while "Star Trek" beamed in on 138.
The "Star Trek" Imax contribution shows that moviegoers are
pleased with the company's theater experience, Chief Executive
Richard Gelfond told Reuters.
"There's no indication at all that the word of mouth is
anything but positive," he said.
But on Tuesday, the company also faced some criticism from
a Hollywood actor who wrote in an expletive-laden blog that he
felt cheated when he paid $5 extra to see "Star Trek" in Imax
and saw the movie on a smaller-than-expected screen.
"These new 'Imax' theaters are really just nice digital
screens with good sound, but they are not Imax, in that they
don't have the huge 72-foot (22-metre) gigantic screen which
people would expect," said Aziz Ansari, a co-star of the new
NBC show "Parks and Recreation."
The actor's comments echoed earlier criticism from purists
who say Imax should re-brand its smaller screens in multiplexes
to differentiate them from larger Imax screens, found mostly in
museums and science centers.
Sizes vary, but a typical Imax multiplex screen could be 28
by 58 feet (8.5 metres by 18 metres) , while a larger Imax
screen could be 76 by 97 feet (23 metres by 29.5 metres).
Gelfond countered that Imax has no re-branding plans
because "Imax is Imax."
"Does American Airlines brand a (Boeing) 767 (flight)
differently than a 727? We wouldn't put our name on it unless
it lived up to the 'Wow!' factor and to the Imax brand," he
The company has been moving its smaller version of Imax
screens into multiplexes for more than five years, and it has
371 screens worldwide, with 250 of those in commercial venues
as opposed to museums and science centers, the company said.
Imax screens in multiplexes are always the largest in that
venue, and with digital remastering they offer higher picture
quality and other enhanced features. "When you go to an Imax
theater you get the most immersive film experience on the
planet," Gelfond said.
"Star Trek" was released by Paramount Pictures, a unit of
Viacom Inc VIAb.N,
(Editing by Dean Goodman and Eric Walsh)