Brentwood’s Rave Motion Pictures theater has been a popular destination since it opened in 2008, but soon, people from all over East County will be flocking to The Streets of Brentwood for a chance to experience Contra Costa County’s first IMAX theater.
Renovations are currently underway as Rave’s largest auditorium is being transformed into an IMAX auditorium, which features state-of-the-art technology, a revamped audio system and a customized curved 60 feet by 32 feet screen that enhances the movie experience. The Brentwood IMAX theater will feature approximately 380 seats. IMAX ticket prices will average $13 while IMAX 3D tickets will average $18.
Rave Motion Pictures Vice President of Marketing Jeremy Devine said the addition of the IMAX screen will give moviegoers the best movie experience technology can provide. “The technology offers a clearer picture with sharper sound, and with the curved screen, the theater geometry allows for the screen to go from floor to ceiling and wall to wall. Plus the screen is moved closer to the audience so that they are completely immersed in the movie. IMAX is unique and there’s nothing like in it East County. We’re really excited.”
Movie lovers are excited, too, anxiously anticipating the IMAX auditorium’s opening on April 29. Self-proclaimed movie nerd Quinnten LeDrew is looking forward to getting access to IMAX close to home.
“This is great news,” said LeDrew, a Brentwood resident. “I normally go to Dublin if I want to see a movie in IMAX, so it’ll be great to have it here in town. There are a lot of big, blockbuster movies coming out this year, and IMAX will make those movies even better.”
LeDrew said he likes IMAX because the technology allows a movie to be experienced instead of casually absorbed. The full screen engulfs you, transporting you into the action of the story.
But IMAX isn’t likely to dominate moviegoing, according to LeDrew. “IMAX is exciting, but not every film should be in IMAX,” he said. “Just like not every movie should be in 3D. An IMAX experience is good for big films like ‘Avatar,’ which was an epic movie with landmark special effects. That’s something you want to see big. But a movie like ‘The King’s Speech’? That’s fine in 2D.”
The IMAX theater will open with “Fast Five: An IMAX Experience,” the fifth installment of the “Fast and the Furious” franchise, and a series of blockbusters will roll out throughout the summer, including “Thor” in IMAX 2D and “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” in IMAX 3D.
But since IMAX isn’t for everyone, 2D and digital 3D versions of those films will also be released, giving everyone a chance to enjoy them. That’s good news to Brentwood resident Annette Epstein, who prefers her movies without all the bells and whistles.
“IMAX is an experience like no other, but it’s a little too ‘in your face’ for me,” she said. “Now, my kids love it because it’s big and loud and you feel like you’re right in the action, but it’s not for me. Although, if the last Harry Potter movie is in IMAX, and it’s right here in town, I might have to give it another try.”
Epstein is in luck. The final Harry Potter film will be released in IMAX 3D along with “Cars 2” and “Transformers: Dark of the Moon.”
When IMAX debuted in 1967, IMAX films were nature and science documentaries, but in the past five years, Hollywood has embraced this evolving movie technology and produced enough IMAX films to fill out the calendar. Devine said Rave will most likely pass on documentaries.
The tickets cost more but LeDrew said it’s worth it. “I love movies, but honestly, there are a lot of films out right now that aren’t worth seeing on the big screen. But when it’s in IMAX, it’s worth every penny. You feel like you’re in the movie, and that’s a great way to experience an action flick – like you’re right at the center of everything.”
LeDrew is far from alone in his enthusiasm, which is why Rave is adding IMAX theaters to more than a dozen of its facilities across the country. “It’s very clear that consumers associate the IMAX brand with the best way to go to the movies, and we believe that sentiment fits ideally with the direction and image of the Rave brand,” said Tom Stephenson, Rave vice chairman.
“Many factors contributed to our decision to expand our IMAX business, including the ongoing success of Hollywood films in that format, the impressive film slate and the favorable economics of IMAX’s digital projection system.”
For more information about Rave IMAX theaters and upcoming films, visit www.ravemotionpictures.com.