Spider-Man 4 Going IMAX On May 5, 2011

IMAX and Sony Columbia have today announced that the fourth film in their money-spinning Spider-Man franchise will hit both traditional cinema screens and the global network of IMAX theatres on May 5, 2011. Like the IMAX release of Spider-Men 3 and 2 before it, this will be via the up-scaling technology that takes the 35mm master and digitally pumps it up a bit for IMAX screens.

According to the press release, the sound is beefed up too but quite how, I don't know. I hope there's somebody suitable technical out there who can explain in the comments. You can't convince me that they use more channels in an IMAX theatre... or do they? Perhaps it will just be played louder.

IMAX CEO Raymond Gelfond says:

Spider-Man continues to be one of the world's most popular motion picture franchises, and we are very excited to include the latest chapter as part of our 2011 slate. Our network has grown significantly and we continue to roll-out new theatres virtually every week, giving more moviegoers the opportunity to experience the movie in IMAX.

Of course, it's not just the 'real', full scale IMAX he's talking about there, but also the much maligned smaller version. That's by far and away the one spreading the fastest. Note that despite vociferous rejection of the mini-IMAX format in the online film lovin' community, the spread of these screens continues to expand on even a weekly basis. Yet another reminder that you, me and the people we go to the movies with can often be revealed as little more than the enthusiastic, informed hardcore, slightly out of touch with the man and woman in the street.

If I was going to go to Spider-Man 4 in IMAX, I'd make sure it was the full scale version. Of course, I personally prefer the 'normal' cinematic experience so I'll be sticking with that, and happily.

At the end of the press release, where Sam Raimi, Tobey Maguire and so on get their names dropped, there is also mention of Gary Ross as currently 'adapting' the screenplay. That's a strangely euphemistic term for rewriting. Why beat around the bush? Isn't Ross one of the most accomplished and well-proven writers in Hollywood? I think he's great anyway, and I'm happy to see him involved with my preferred tentpole event franchise.

This press release also seems to confirm that Spider-Man 4 will neither be shot in the IMAX format or in 3D. Not that either of those were even rumoured, at least to the best of my knowledge, but I suspect it was only a matter of time. Consider any nonsense nipped in the bud.