Monday, 26 March 2012

Has IMAX changed blockbuster film releases?

I went to see The Hunger Games last weekend and I thought it was an excellent film, well made, full of emotion and considering it is a 12A, managed to create an air of violence without actually showing any major violence.  I see now that the film has grossed an estimated $155 million in North America, which is quite a feat for a first time movie (not a sequel). 

The one thing that struck me was wouldn’t this normally be a summer blockbuster or Christmas film release?  Of course it is a new franchise not as popular as some others in recent times, I had never heard of the books but unlike the horrible Twilight series (Twilight and its many TV series copies have ruined Vampires, once terrible bloodsucking fiends, now they are an allegory for teenage angst, it’s a disgrace) which does not interest me in the slightest and so I would never contemplate watching, the concept of The Hunger Games intrigued me enough to want to see it. 

Whilst at the cinema I was watching it on IMAX, I wondered if the insertion of IMAX screens had now added a large headache on when big films would be released.  There are not many IMAX screens around the world; there is only one where I live and if a big film is going to want to sell their wares on the best screen possible surely IMAX screen time is limited.

I think it’s good if things change from the norm of summer blockbusters, Christmas hits, autumn for the likely Oscar winners, great films if they are good enough should be able to come out any time and make money.

So what made me want to see the Hunger Games?  Well it seemed similar to Battle Royal and to be honest it is very like Battle Royal meets The Running Man meets The Lord of the Flies, with a bit of 1984 thrown in for good measure.  But the film overall though seemingly for young adults has many important themes about how humanity can be cruel and malevolent, yet heroic and courageous.  And the narrow-minded people saying don’t see it because its kids killing kids are missing the point of the films and I presume the books.  Knowing the excellent Jennifer Lawrence was playing the main part helped, she was great in Winters Bone as well as the supporting cast; Stanley Tucci was brilliant as the gregarious, narcissistic, saccharin sweet, exaggerated TV host.  So even though I had never heard of the books or read anything about the film apart from it was similar to Battle Royal, it seemed worth watching at the cinema in a big IMAX screen.

IMAX makes a massive difference in the viewing experience, it is so much better than even a normal large screen and amazingly it is even better when the film is 2D as opposed to 3D.  I watched Inception on normal 2D and IMAX 2D and the difference was significant.  Let’s see more IMAX screens and the really big ones not the half sized ones, the bigger the screen the more engrossed you become in the film.
Overall I would recommend The Hunger Games to anyone, it is not a Tweeny film, everyone should enjoy it and if my cinema was anything to go by the demographic is wide and varied, at least in the UK.

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