IMAX finally returns to South Africa

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If there’s one aspect of movie-going culture that you won’t hear us not complain about, it’s the lack of IMAX theatres in this country. We’ve often bemoaned that international blockbusters, movies so big that their budgets can only be appreciated on a screen the size of a rugby field, won’t pop up here because we no longer have an IMAX capable cinema.

Wait. What’s that? IMAX is coming back to SA? GET THE CHAMPAGNE KERVYN! THE GOOD ONE!

IMAX (1)

At a press event today, Ster Kinekor CEO Fiaz Mahomed revealed that the bigger big screen was on the way back. According to Tech Central, the first such screen will be built at the Gateway Theatre of Shopping north of Durban, with another on the way to Gauteng in the near future.

“It’s time to bring it back,” Mahomed said at the event. “In the past, we weren’t happy with how it was presented in South Africa but we think the opportunity now has become a sustainable one.” Nu Metro was in control of IMAX in the past, but poor sales and returns saw all of those cinemas closed down several years ago.

Along with the new IMAX screens, films will now also be shown digitally, a big move away from the standard 70mm format that had been used previously. “Unless it was offered at a ridiculous ticket price, the 70mm format was not sustainable,” Mahomed said. “Also, the quality and quantity of content is now in place and, I stand to be corrected, but roughly 30 films have been green-lit for next 12 months as IMAX content.”

The Gateway IMAX screen will be up and running in November. That’s some damn good news for cinema buffs, and I’m glad to see IMAX back. Now if we can get Ster Kinekor and Nu Metro to do something about forcing audiences to watch 3D films, then I’ll consider this an early Christmas gift.

Last Updated: August 28, 2013

Darryn Bonthuys

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