Posted on Wednesday, August 26th, 2015 by Ethan Anderton
Nowadays, movies move in an out of theaters very quickly. Gone are the days of a movie sticking around your local multiplex for months. And movies have an even shorter shelf-life on IMAX screens, since there are far fewer of the giant movie theaters available for movies to inhabit.
Therefore, it’s somewhat surprising, though also not entirely unexpected, that Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be getting an extended stay in IMAX theaters when it opens on December 18th. Fans we’ll get their chance to see The Force Awakens IMAX screenings in theaters across the country for an entire month.
The last time IMAX made this kind of deal for a movie to stay on the giant screen for so long was for all three of The Hobbit movies. So while it’s not unprecedented, it’s not a very common occurrence for IMAX to keep a movie around for so long.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens will debut on anywhere from 375 to 400 IMAX screens in the United States and 400 more internationally, according to THR. Apparently the exact count hasn’t been determined because IMAX usually opens/installs new theaters in the fall. Theater chains that will have The Force Awakens on IMAX include Regal, AMC and Cinemark theaters chains, but that’s not all.
Even museums and other non-theater chains who have IMAX screens will be playing Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Some of these screens have played space-related movies before like Gravity and Interstellar, but this seems like a bit of a stretch in that regard. But if it gets places like museums a little extra money to play around with, then that’s fine.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is going to be a box office behemoth this winter, and IMAX screens will certainly be a big part of that, so having it around for a whole month, especially for repeat viewings, will be a big boost. The only downside is that you probably won’t be able to see the film in IMAX without also seeing it in 3D, simply because if a movie hits IMAX 3D like this, it usually doesn’t also have an IMAX 2D release. Plus, there’s only one sequence that was actually shot with IMAX cameras, so hopefully that will make it worth the higher ticket price.
Sadly, this means that In the Heart of the Sea will only get one week on IMAX screens before being Forced out of the way. And The Revenant won’t get a chance to hit IMAX screens until January 15th, if at all. But that might not even be much of a loss for the audience since the movie wasn’t shot on IMAX cameras.
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