You have more options than ever for viewing movies, and if you’re going to watch a movie you’ve been really anticipating, you’ll want to choose the best option. We’re looking at two different formats today to see which is best (RPX vs IMAX). We will compare their differences to help you better understand which one might be the best viewing experience for you the next time you go to the theater.
These days, people aren’t going to the theater quite as much as they used to, and they’re more selective in what they go to see. If you’re visiting the theater to see a movie in a premium format like IMAX or RPX, you want to know what would make one a better viewing experience than another. We’re going to break that down for you with a comparison.
Bigger Is Better? Screen Size
Probably the simplest way to compare different viewing formats like RPX versus IMAX is in screen size. It makes sense that you’d want to see a movie on the biggest screen possible, so how do these two compare?
Screen sizes will vary based on your location and the particular IMAX or RPX location you’re visiting. RPX screens are usually 40 feet by 60 feet. IMAX screens are typically 52×70 feet. Of course, there are some that are larger than that. No matter which of these viewing formats you go with, you’re getting a much larger screen than your traditional movie experience.
The RPX screen is a little smaller than IMAX, in many cases, and that gives you a different aspect ratio.
Are You Comfortable?- Seating
If you’re going to a prestige cinema experience, expect comfortable seating. How does the seating compare between regal’s RPX and the IMAX theaters?
Regal Cinemas calls their RPX format a premium experience. After all, that’s what the P and X stand for. The sophisticated viewing environment has been custom built and designed with luxury in mind. You get expensive seats with high back headrests. The seats are soft and leathery.
IMAX theaters are known for their comfy seats, and while they’re quite exquisite, they can’t match what RPX is offering. The RPX format is designed to be a step or two above IMAX when it comes to comfort level.
Getting in and out of your seats in an RPX theater might be difficult for some people because of the smaller spacing in the aisles. Large people and those with a lot of items from the concession stand may find the space constricting.
Can You Hear the Difference? RPX vs IMAX
This is where IMAX clearly stands out as the better choice. IMAX offers 12 channels of high-quality sound, whereas RPX gives you a 7.1 channel surround sound system that has speakers built into the chairs. It’s still a great system, but it can’t quite match what IMAX has to offer.
You’ll definitely want to consider the sound quality of the movie you’re going to see. If you’re an audiophile, IMAX is markedly superior to RPX, but you’re still getting a great experience from Regal’s offering. Both of them offer a better surround sound and audio experience than what you’re going to get from your typical cinema.
You should know that the in-seat audio you get with RPX can be a little distracting. Those seat harmonics can cause vibrations that may be distracting or unpleasant. Some people will like the added sensory experience, and others will find it pulling them out of the movie. This aspect of the movie viewing experience for RPX vs IMAX will likely come down to personal preference.
How Does It Look?- Video Quality
One factor that will really sell people on one type of cinema format over another is the picture quality. We’re constantly hearing video quality buzzwords and phrases like “4K” and “high fidelity”. Cinemas have been saying for a long time that they’ll give you the best possible picture that will put the viewer in the movie. When it comes to RPX vs IMAX, which one does that better?
If you’re watching a movie in 3D, which isn’t as common as it used to be, RPX is probably a slightly better experience. It won’t be as harsh on your eyes. However, the picture won’t be quite as bright. You may often experience that problem with 3D movie viewing in a theater setting. The picture simply looks too dark, which helps the 3D effect, but makes the image is difficult to see.
What if you’re not watching a 3D movie and you’re just going to one of these theaters for a typical 2D movie? Which format provides the better quality picture? IMAX puts you closer to the screen, which can make it feel like it’s a higher quality image, but that will partly depend on your viewing preferences and your own visual acuity.
RPX pulls you a little bit back from the screen, but as far as picture quality goes, it’s on par with what IMAX is offering. Technically speaking, you shouldn’t notice much difference between the two formats for a standard movie viewing experience. The differences are more evident for a 3D movie or something else that’s more of a gimmick experience, but for most movies, the two viewing formats are identical in picture quality.
How Much Will It Cost Me?
The last aspect we want to consider is the cost of going to RPX versus IMAX theaters (see TripAdvisor). They are both premium movie experiences, so they both cost more than your typical ticket price. IMAX is already pretty expensive, but RPX can sometimes cost a little more.
IMAX is about $20, on average, though you get different prices for seniors and children. RPX costs, on average $18-$21. The prices are nearly identical, so the difference is negligible, in most cases. Probably, the cheapest you’ll pay for an RPX ticket is $16, if you’re paying for a child or senior. IMAX tickets are about the same for those categories, but prices vary from location to location.
Because RPX is a newer format, some theaters feel like they can get away with charging more for it. However, both formats are considered premium, and you’re paying premium prices for them.
Which One to Choose? RPX vs IMAX
Hopefully, we’ve been able to cover all the factors that really matter to you when it comes to your viewing experience. Maybe you’ve tried IMAX before and you’re looking to see if RPX is a considerable step up. The only major difference for most people is going to be in the seating, according to Reddit, because you have different seats for RPX that are designed to be a high-end experience, even more comfortable than IMAX.
If you’re perfectly fine with the seats that you get in an IMAX theater, however, there is no real incentive to try out the RPX format. You may even find that RPX can be a little distracting because of how loud leather seats can get and because of the in-seat audio experience. For people who visit the cinema often, it may be worth it to try something a little different just for the experience, but as you can see, the differences are minor between the two formats.
Last Updated: February 15, 2022