Saturday, October 25, 2008

Change: the only constant

Where to begin…

The latest issue of the LF Examiner – The Independent Journal Of The Large Format Motion Picture Industry just arrived. Here’s the top headline: GELFORD: IMAX IS NOT “GIANT SCREEN”

Gelford is Richard Gelford, co-CEO of IMAX Corp.   On the first day of the Giant Screen Cinema Association (GSCA) conference Jim and I attended last month (see our last 2 blog entries below), Mr. Gelford stunned the GSCA with the news that IMAX is reversing 4 decades of company branding.   Of the IMAX experience he said, “we don’t think of it as giant screen.” Rather, he said, “it is the best immersive experience on the planet.”  Mr. Gelford’s announcement coincided with the rollout of the IMAX company’s new digital projection system, intended to be retrofitted into 35mm multiplex theaters.  IMAX is going digital with Hollywood movies in Multiplex theaters.

The news was not well-received by most of the GSCA operators of  IMAX large screen film-based theaters. They contend that the “wow factor” is gone when viewing a film in an ordinary multiplex house that has been modified slightly. The screens are only a fraction of the size of the “real” IMAX theater screen.

The changes the giant-screen association is going through as a result of the new IMAX branding are unlike anything the industry has seen in the last 25 years.

The transitional fallout from this digital revolution will be on-going for several years. The GSCA is in an “identity crisis” brought on by outside forces, leaving them very unclear on their market segment. They claim that, “if we’re confused, our audiences are very confused.”

I can tell you that this conference experience left me very confused. For the last month I’ve been trying to figure out what the implications of this change mean for Stardance. That’s why I haven’t written a new blog entry. Jim and I both needed time.

Earlier this week I made a decision. I sent Jim a long email laying out my reasons for deciding to switch from making a 44 minute IMAX to a full-length feature film. The events at the GSCA conference forced me to re-access our plans. A few days ago, Jim concurred with my decision. The result is we’ve agreed to forgo the Giant Screen.

My next entry will explain in more detail the effect our decision will have on our film.

In closing, I again want to thank all of you for your ongoing interest and support. Stardance lives!

Warm, grateful smiles,

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