To IMAX and beyond. . . .

Large-format films take moviegoers around the world in a big way

By Diane Urbani, Deseret News staff writer
Deseret News, 8 September 2000, page W1

Article Summary:

"IMAX" has become the "Kleenex" brand-name term for a handful of large-format film companies with names such as MegaSystems and I-Werks.  An IMAX-size venue costs anywhere from $3 million for one screen in a multiplex to $20 million for a stand-alone domed palace.

Three large-format theaters are already open in Utah and there are plans for at least two more.

The 6-year-old Zion Canyon Giant Screen Theatre in Springdale saw its millionth customer this spring.  Destination Cinema operates the theater, which saw its millionth customer in the spring of 2000.  The large-format IMAX theater is located at the south entrance to Grand Canyon National Park.

About 150,000 patrons have seen films like "Whales" and "Michael Jordan to the Max" on Sandy's SuperScreen at Jordan Commons.

Utah's third large-format venue, the North American Museum of Ancient Life at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi, opened in July 2000 with "Alaska: Spirit of the Wild", which brought in 54,621 patrons in the first eight weeks.

Cinemark plans to build an IMAX-certified screen at Crossroads Plaza in 2001.  "We're hoping for an August or September 2001 opening," said Crossroads general manager Dave Nielson. Construction of the theater was postponed for more than a year because of the proliferation of other multiplexes around the valley. "We wanted to let the dust settle," Nielson said.

A large-format venue may be part of the proposed Salt Lake aquarium center, if plans for that project pan out.