Monday, November 28, 2016

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story - IMAX or Cinerama

Do you plan on seeing Rogue One: A Star Wars Story when it comes out on December 16th? Do you know where you are going to see it and which theater will give you the biggest and best experience? My comparison of Seattle area theaters will help you make that oh so important decision!

Now, I'm not going to compare every screen in the greater Seattle area, but I am going to give you the lowdown on the two big players. The Seattle Cinerama and the Pacific Science Center IMAX theaters. Right off the bat, you're thinking..."No contest, IMAX wins every time!".

Clearly you need to read my other blog post: The truth about the IMAX experience.

Normally, I would agree with the IMAX sentiment assuming the movie is playing on the Boeing IMAX Theater screen, but some movies are shown in the Pacific Science Center's still-awesome-but-not-nearly-as-impressive PACCAR IMAX Theater. You still get a premium experience just with a much smaller screen which is more in line with what is available at multiplex IMAX locations.

Now that you know a little more about the available options, I'm going to keep this simple and just throw down some basic theater screen stats for you to review. Oh, and according to the Pacific Science Center's website, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is being shown in the Boeing IMAX theater so here goes.

The Boeing IMAX Theater
Height: 60 feet
Width: 80 feet
Capacity: 350
Adult IMAX 3D Ticket: $15.75

The Seattle Cinerama
Height: 30 feet
Width: 68 feet
Capacity: 560
Adult Ticket: $16.00

For those really wondering, here is one more.

Regal Thornton Place IMAX Theater
Height: 28.5 feet
Width: 48 feet
Capacity: Undisclosed
Adult IMAX 3D Ticket: $19.30!!

The last set of stats is basically what you will find at the Lincoln Square Theater IMAX, Southcenter Mall IMAX, Alderwood Mall IMAX, and any other "IMAX" theater that is in a mall. If you live in one of those areas, save yourself some cash for popcorn or candy and see the movie on a non "IMAX" screen. You really won't miss anything.

(All ticket prices sourced from theater websites)

If you are basing your decision on screen size alone then the Boeing IMAX theater is the easy choice. The screen itself literally towers above anything else and the sound is also unparalleled even when stacked up against the Cinerama's brand new state of the art sound system. Both theaters have recently undergone extensive upgrades bringing them both to the forefront of the premier theaters anywhere in the world.

Rogue One was filmed entirely using the large-format 6K resolution model of Arri’s cutting edge Alexa 65 camera and was then digitally reformatted in post production for IMAX presentation. The enhanced clarity and depth of the images helped the film makers with the IMAX transfer and it's probably about as good as you can get from reformatting. That being said, the Boeing Science Center IMAX option still wouldn't feature the unique IMAX presentation you get from using IMAX cameras, but it would be more on an even playing field with the Cinerama due to the overall image quality.

What the Cinerama has going for it, aside from the most state of the art audio and video systems on the planet, is double the seating capacity, you can select your seats ahead of time, and a locally produced and less expensive selection of concessions including their very own, exclusive chocolate popcorn. They also have a selection of adult beverages available which can be seen as an advantage if you like to enjoy a refreshing alcoholic beverage during the movie. All that and the Cinerama is simply the coolest theater you will ever walk in to.

This one is honestly a tough call as the Boeing IMAX screen holds a very slight technical edge while the Cinerama easily holds the advantage when it comes to all of the other available amenities. It really comes down to what is more important to you when making your decision, just make sure you do see this movie in a legitimate movie theater.

Want to know more about IMAX screens that aren't anywhere near as big as the non-IMAX Cinerama screen? Learn the truth about the so-called IMAX experience and you will never want to go back to a multiplex "IMAX" theater ever again.


  1. Cinerama DAMMIT! Seats: H-13, or 14. Medium Chocolate Popcorn (or "Mix" depending on my mood). Medium soda and a Reese's Pieces.

  2. I think your forgetting to mention the lowes alderwood mall Dolby cinema/amc prime screen which should be open any day now. It's the most technologically sophisticated cinema experience in the world. It will absolutely look the best There, but it doesn't ya e the screen suze, seating capacity ir ambiance if the boieing ir Cinerama. There one other Dolby cinema in the state and about 30 in the US. Also I disagree about sound between Cinerama and imax. They're both object based but imax is a 12.4 channel while atmos is 64/128 and the Cinerama has about a hundred speakers.

  3. Also the imax dual laser is way more advanced then the single Christie 6p. The Cinerama is still much better than any other theater but the dolby cinema dual laser 4k is the mist advanced, ita a bit ahead of imax laser specs, followed by imax and then Cinerama. Unless you watch it in 3d then hands down its being imax as Dolby cinema only show 3d in 3 locations in the US. So visually and seating I would go with Dolby cinema, sound/food/atmosphere, second best screen size-cinerama and screen size, 3d and second best sound- Boeing imax

  4. What is your source for "One thing to consider is that while Rogue One does contain a few scenes that were filmed using IMAX cameras, specifically the large-format 6K resolution model of Arri’s Alexa 65"

    I had not found anything that said Rogue One had any specific scenes filmed in IMAX. Thanks as this will help me make a decision whether to see at Boeing IMAX.

    1. Thanks for asking about that, I actually made an update to the post as the information I had previously read turned out to be inaccurate. Arri created a custom IMAX model for the Russo brothers to use on Captain America: Civil War.

  5. Thanks for the reply. I watched Captain America: Civil War and Dr Strange at Boeing IMAX specifically for the IMAX scenes! It was great! Do you know any wiki or website that specifically lists which movies have scenes shot with IMAX camera? I know there are lists that show post-conversion or not, but I want the specifics in a easy to find place.


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