Restore the Regal Pointe Orlando IMAX theater to its full screen 1.43 potential.
Restore the Regal Pointe Orlando IMAX theater to its full screen 1.43 potential.
We the customers are asking Regal Cinemas to restore Regal Pointe Orlando’s IMAX theater to its full potential of being able to fill its enormous screen from top to bottom, in the form of an upgrade to the Dual Laser projection system instead of the planned Single Laser projection system.
The IMAX theater at Regal Pointe Orlando used to offer a world class experience, with a 60 by 80 foot screen and IMAX 70mm presentations that remain unmatched to this day. When playing films that were shot using IMAX 70mm cameras, such as The Dark Knight, the aspect ratio would expand to breathtakingly fill this massive screen top to bottom. These special IMAX 70mm presentations attracted massive sold-out crowds to the Orlando I-Drive area. Everything changed in 2013 when Regal Cinemas “upgraded” this theater to the IMAX Xneon digital projection system. This system was only designed to be installed in much smaller retrofitted IMAX auditoriums, such as the IMAX theater at Regal Waterford Lakes. It was never designed to be used in purpose-built IMAX auditoriums such as Pointe Orlando. The Xneon system is limited to a resolution of only 2048 × 1080 pixels, or 2K. This is only a slightly wider resolution than your decade-old 1080p HDTV. It might look great on your 40 inch TV set in your living room, but when you stretch that same resolution to a massive 80 foot screen, it’s not so pretty. This creates a very sub-par pixel density that produces dull images. Most importantly, the Xneon system is strictly limited to an aspect ratio of 1.90:1. IMAX 70mm is capable of an aspect ratio of 1.43:1, this is what dramatically filled the entire screen when presenting films on this format in previous years. The limited 1.90:1 aspect ratio of the Xneon system only fills the screen partially, leaving massive areas of blackness on the top and bottom of the picture.
Throughout the years, Regal had kept both IMAX 70mm and digital Xneon projection systems in the projection booth. The intention was that the 70mm projector would be kept operational and be put to use whenever an IMAX 70mm release came along, such as Interstellar. The digital Xneon system would handle the majority of presentations, as the use of IMAX 70mm in movie releases had been declining dramatically at the time of the Xneon installation. This was the case with the other purpose-built IMAX theaters under Regal’s management, such as Irvine Spectrum, Opry Mills, King of Prussia, and Mall of Georgia. But by the time the IMAX 70mm release of Interstellar came around, Pointe Orlando was mysteriously missing from the list of theaters that would be presenting the film in this format, much to the shock and disappointment of Orlando locals and traveling moviegoers. Interstellar was instead limited to a watered down presentation with the IMAX Xneon system. During the 70 minutes of footage that Director Christopher Nolan had shot with IMAX 70mm cameras during the production of Interstellar, instead of beautifully expanding to fill the massive screen from top to bottom at an aspect ratio of 1.43;1, these scenes were sadly limited to a shrunken window of 1.90:1. The Xneon system became known for a host of other issues, such as the dull 2K resolution, dim brightness, and flat contrast. The word came out that the IMAX 70mm projector at Pointe Orlando had fallen into disrepair, and that Regal Cinemas had neglected to have the system repaired. Pointe Orlando has since missed out on the IMAX 70mm release of films that were shot specifically in that format, such as The Force Awakens, Batman vs. Superman, and especially Dunkirk. Regal’s other purpose-built IMAX theaters, Irvine Spectrum, Opry Mills,, Mall of Georgia, all kept their 70mm projectors in good working order, they all projected Interstellar and Dunkirk in that format. The crippled IMAX 70mm projector at Pointe Orlando has since been rumored to have been removed from the building.
IMAX themselves knows that the Xneon digital projection system is less than perfect, so they developed and rolled out the IMAX Laser projection system. Laser proved to be one heck of an upgrade for flagship IMAX theaters all around the world, such as The Autonation IMAX theater at The Museum of Discovery and Science in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Laser is capable of 4K resolution and stunning contrast, featuring deep blacks and brilliant highlights. Most importantly, Laser restores the ability to project the full 1.43:1 IMAX aspect ratio for scenes shot in IMAX 70mm. Even for films shot on conventional 35mm and digital formats and presented in a standard 2.39:1 aspect ratio, Laser became known as a monumental leap in quality over the Xneon system and perhaps even a worthy successor to IMAX 70mm. Pointe Orlando needed this upgrade.
Finally in 2018, IMAX and Regal’s parent company Cineworld announced a joint agreement to upgrade their aging Xneon systems to IMAX Laser in many of their IMAX auditoriums. However, it was eventually found out that Regal would not be installing the same Dual Laser system that had received much praise at Ft. Lauderdale and all around the world, but they would instead be installing a cheaper Single Laser system at their purpose-built IMAX Grand Theaters. The Single Laser system is once again only designed for smaller retrofitted auditoriums and is still limited to an aspect ratio of 1.90:1.
The Single Laser system is not the long-awaited upgrade that Pointe Orlando deserves, it is only a small, modest upgrade that will go wildly unnoticed and unappreciated by the vast majority of moviegoers. On the other hand, major competitor AMC has had absolutely no problem giving their purpose-built IMAX Grand Theaters the upgrade they deserve with the Dual Laser system, such is the case at Universal Citywalk in Hollywood and Navy Pier in Chicago. Regal has decided to cheap out and disgrace the full potential of the 1.43:1 IMAX screens at Irvine Spectrum, Opry Mills,, and Mall of Georgia by settling for the inferior Single Laser system at these locations. Word is that Pointe Orlando is in line to soon receive an upgrade to IMAX Laser, but we fear that we will suffer the same sad fate as Regal’s other IMAX locations and only receive the modest upgrade of the Single Laser system, not the monumental upgrade of the Dual Laser system that we deserve after missing out on so many IMAX 70 mm releases over the years.
We are asking for Regal to respect, restore, and preserve the full potential of the IMAX theater at Regal Pointe Orlando. We are asking that Regal chose to give us the worthy upgrade to the Dual Laser IMAX projection system that we have for so long awaited and deserve.
***ever since this petition was written in February 2020, lots of things have changed, to say the least. Presenting films in full 1.43 glory is no longer exclusive to films shot on IMAX 70mm, films such as Dune, Eternals, and Lightyear, which were shot on native 1.43 digital cameras (or animated) have been presented in 1.43 in IMAX auditoriums equipped with the Dual Laser projection system. These theaters were majorly sought after and many people traveled long distances to be able to see these films in full 1.43, and they drove right on past Regal’s theaters to get there. 1.43 presentations are bound to become much more common, as the emergence of the IMAX-certified ARRI Alexa LF cinema camera has greatly expanded accessibility of 1.43 presentations to filmmakers. It is no longer a requirement to use the loud, cumbersome, and expensive IMAX 70mm cameras to present your film in full 1.43 in IMAX theaters. Regal missed the opportunity to present Dune and Eternals in 1.43, and they will miss the opportunity to present the increasingly common future films in 1.43 if they continue the rollout of Single Laser systems to their 1.43 IMAX Grand Theaters. This strengthens the value of our petition.
Regal Pointe Orlando sits in the middle of the tourist hub of the most visited destination in the world, with 75 million domestic and international visitors in 2018. Shouldn’t we be able to offer our visitors a world-class cinema experience that they can’t get at home?