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IMAX is a cinema system developed by the Canadian company of the same name, IMAX Corporation . With 70 mm film, it is based on the widest standardized film format and, at the same time, the largest standard image format on horizontally guided film. The resulting high resolution enables bright and sharp projections on particularly large screen surfaces that almost completely fill the viewer's field of vision . This should improve the immersion of the audience, they should feel as if they were themselves in the film. In addition, the vectoring effect can occur more easily.

The word "IMAX" originated from the words " I mages MAX imum", which in German roughly means "largest possible images". Meanwhile, under the IMAX brand, there are also cinemas with digital 2K - DLP double projection, the screen sizes of which are in the range of conventional multiplex cinemas .


IMAX cinema in London

At the 1967 EXPO in Montreal , Canada , multi-screen films were considered an attraction. The Canadian filmmakers and entrepreneurs Graeme Ferguson , Roman Kroitor and Robert Kerr decided in view of their success to design a system in which a single powerful projector is used instead of the multiple projectors that are still common. They founded the IMAX Corporation in 1967, based in Mississauga , Canada. At the Expo '70 in Osaka , Japan , the IMAX film projector system was presented for the first time in the Fuji Pavilion.

The first permanent IMAX projection system was installed in 1971 in the Cinesphere cinema on Ontario Place in Toronto . One variation, the IMAX Dome , premiered as "OMNIMAX" in 1973 at the Reuben H. Fleet Space Theater in San Diego .

As a result, IMAX continued its efforts to further develop the IMAX experience. So had IMAX 3D in the Canada Pavilion at Expo 86 in Vancouver , Premiere, the two systems IMAX 3D Dome (later IMAX Solido ) and IMAX Magic Carpet each in the Fujitsu pavilion and Sanwa Midori-Kai Pavilion at Expo 1990 Osaka, Japan. At EXPO 1992 in Seville , Spain , IMAX continued its world exhibition tradition in the Canadian pavilion with the world premiere of the IMAX HD system.

In March 2008 IMAX announced that it would replace the previously mechanical film projectors in the IMAX cinemas with digital projectors from Texas Instruments using DLP technology.


IMAX camera; next to it a roll of 70 mm film
15 kW xenon gas discharge lamp for IMAX projector
plate with 70 mm film

The 70 mm film runs horizontally through the projector so that an image area of ​​approximately 71 mm × 52 mm is achieved. The picture format is about 1.36: 1 and is therefore much more similar to the original TV format 4: 3 (1.33: 1) than the otherwise used cinema formats. The projection lamp used is a xenon gas discharge lamp with an electrical output of 15 kW and a total of 30 kW for 3D projections for which two projectors with differently polarized light are used. The lamp must be water-cooled; their operating voltage is 37.5 V with a current consumption of 400 A. The amplifiers of the multi-channel sound system have a maximum electrical output of 25 kW. Film music and noises appear realistic.

In order to transport the film gently through the projector and at the same time to achieve a brilliant, sharp and flicker-free image, the IMAX Corporation has adopted the so-called rolling loop film transport (wave loop mechanism), which was invented by PRW Jones, Brisbane, Queensland. In this process, the film strip is moved forward horizontally and in a wave-like motion.

Format comparisons

A so-called inlet wheel is located next to the rotor, which presses the film into the passing pockets of the rotor so that the film lies in a wave-like manner on it. The individual pictures are held in place by locking pins and sucked onto a ground and polished picture window glass. This results in an almost perfect picture position and sharpness. The powerful xenon gas discharge lamps produce a brilliant image. The weight of a projector is approximately 900 kg.

In the case of 3D projections , viewers are given 3D glasses (see below) to watch the films.


Polarizing glasses

When recording an IMAX 3D film, the same image is recorded with two identical cameras. For the stereoscopic effect, the cameras are located at a distance equivalent to the distance between the human eyes. The "IMAX 3D" process uses polarization technology for the required image separation during projection in order to generate a three-dimensional color image.

The film is projected with linearly polarized light. The polarization directions for the right and left partial image are rotated by 90 ° with respect to one another. The viewer wears special 3D glasses , which in turn use appropriate polarization filters to ensure that each eye can only see the corresponding partial image. This creates the three-dimensional film impression in the brain. The image is projected onto a silver screen, as conventional projection surfaces would destroy the polarization of the light.

One advantage of polarization filter technology is the inexpensive production of the 3D glasses and their uncomplicated handling. The polarizing filters only let through a third of the available light. This is why very powerful xenon lamps are required, which have to be continuously cooled with air and water due to the high heat generation (operating temperature approx. 800 ° C). A disadvantage is the strong dependence of the silver screen on the viewing angle. For side viewing angles greater than approx. 20 °, the image is only less than half as bright compared to the frontal view. During the projection, viewers should therefore sit as centrally as possible in front of the screen.

In some cinemas, however, shutter glasses are used. With this technology, the projector alternately projects an image for the left and right eye onto the screen. The shutter glasses contain a thin LCD glass for each eye , which - synchronously with the projector - only becomes translucent when the image intended for this eye can also be seen on the screen. This process is controlled by an infrared signal generator above the screen for all glasses at the same time. In order to prevent the picture from flickering, causing headaches, each individual image on the left must be shown four times in alternation with the corresponding individual image on the right. Since the glasses contain active components, this technology is also known as "active" stereo projection, in contrast to the "passive" polarization filter technology.

IMAX Dome plus

The IMAX Dome plus system (formerly OMNIMAX) is characterized by a hemispherical screen with a diameter of up to 21 m and an area of ​​up to 700 m², which is 180 ° horizontally and 122 ° vertically (100 ° above the horizon of the Observer and 22 ° below) and thus fills the entire field of vision of the observer. Here, the film by means of a corresponding camera will fisheye - wide-angle lens was added so that an oval, distorted, black edged image appears on the film strip. This black border is masked during the projection and the distorted image area is projected onto the screen in a corrected manner by a corresponding wide-angle lens and the curved projection surface. This system increases the feeling of being “in the film”. Feelings of dizziness in the audience during fast tracking shots are therefore not uncommon.

See also the omnivision process in 180-degree cinemas from 1979 and its predecessor from 1958.

In the meantime, some IMAX dome-capable cinemas have also switched to projecting "flat" IMAX films onto the dome screen. However, this has a negative effect on the image quality, since distortions occur in the image, which become stronger as the closer to the edge of the screen. So straight lines are curved towards the center of the canvas. Occasionally, light blue and yellow color fringes can also be seen.


The film is recorded and played back at twice the speed (48 instead of 24 images per second). This halves motion blur; Movements appear more fluid and natural. The disadvantage of this system is that most IMAX theaters have film plates that are sufficient for a maximum of 50-minute films. This means that IMAX HD films can only be a maximum of 25 minutes long with the same (meter) length. The term HD ( high definition , high resolution) does not refer to the number of pixels in the film material , but to the temporal resolution. However, due to the relatively short maximum playing time of this process, it has not been able to establish itself.

IMAX HD can also be combined with dome and 3D, then it's called IMAX Solido (see below).

IMAX Solido

The "IMAX Solido" system is a combination of IMAX 3D, IMAX Dome and IMAX HD. Two film strips, which run at 48 frames per second, are alternately projected onto a dome-shaped screen in front of / above the audience. The viewers wear shutter glasses that only let through the images that are intended for each eye. Thus, IMAX Solido comes closest to human eyesight, as the audience sees a sharp, non-flickering, three-dimensional image that fills the entire field of vision . This procedure has not yet caught on. The world's last Solido-enabled IMAX cinema was in the Futuroscope in Poitiers , France . The last screening took place on September 3, 2017, after which the cinema was demolished.

For more information, see IMAX 3D , IMAX Dome, and IMAX HD .


Motion simulators convert corresponding events on the screen into synchronous movement impulses that are transmitted to the viewer's seat. The IMAX Corporation developed such a technology: the so-called "IMAX Ride" system. The company was already involved in the development of "Back to the Future - The Ride", a Universal Studios Hollywood attraction . The system offers space for up to 208 spectators in front of a 30 meter high IMAX dome screen. The world's first 3D ride, “Race for Atlantis”, opened at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

The improved system "IMAX Ridefilm" was developed under the direction of Douglas Trumbull . It works with a horizontally running 35 mm film in Vistavision image format, which is played back at 48 frames per second on a curved screen. 18 people can sit in the moving simulator capsule at a time.

In Europe there are currently only four Gaumont group cinemas in France and Belgium that offer IMAX rides: in the French towns of Archamps, Labege and Valenciennes and in Antwerp, Belgium.

Furthermore, there was an IMAX ride cinema in Phantasialand in Brühl near Cologne until January 2016 , in which a 2D version of “Race for Atlantis” was shown. This had two canvases, each making up half of the dome. The eight simulators on the top floor of the dome were decommissioned in 2005 when the theme was changed from Galaxy (shown film “Asteroid Adventure”) to Race for Atlantis and served until 2016 as a spare parts store for the remaining eight simulator capsules on the ground floor of the attraction. The last trip took place on January 17, 2016 on the last day of the “winter dream”, the demolition began immediately afterwards.

IMAX Magic Carpet

In this technique, the film is recorded with two cameras, one facing forward and one facing down. The front-facing film is projected normally. The film recorded downwards is projected onto the horizontal, “lying” screen (therefore Magic Carpet ) under (!) The rows of seats by means of a second projector located below the auditorium . Logically, these must be equipped with glass shelves. For example, aerial photographs can be shown, whereby the audience not only has the view to the front, but can also see the landscape below. The two so far only "IMAX Magic Carpet" films were Flowers in the Sky , which showed the long journey of the Monarch butterflies, and "Flying Raft".

However, this procedure could not prevail because the audience is used to looking ahead in the cinema and thus did not notice the “magic carpet” effect. In addition, the view downwards is severely restricted by one's own legs and the chair in front of you.

There is currently only one "IMAX Magic Carpet" cinema. It is located in the Futuroscope in Poitiers . There is also a "non-IMAX cinema", which uses a very similar technology, in the Jungfraupark in Interlaken ( Switzerland ).


DMR is the abbreviation for D igital M edia R emastering. In this process, conventional films shot on 35 mm film are scanned in as high-resolution as possible (usually with 6k ) and thus digitized. Ideally, the negative material from the camera is used for this, as a loss of quality occurs with every copying process. Then, using special software algorithms, the visible grain of the film is removed, which would otherwise be uncomfortably noticeable on the IMAX screens. Then the image is sharpened to get details. The processing render farm needs several weeks for post-processing. Finally, the film is exposed with 8K , i.e. 8000 × 6000 pixels (48 megapixels ) on 70 mm film .

Sample calculation for a 90-minute film: The film is scanned in with a resolution of 8,000 × 6,000 pixels and a color depth of 48 bits (16 bits per color channel , corresponds to 6 bytes ) per pixel . Each uncompressed image has a size of approx. 275 MB (8000 × 6000 × 6). The uncompressed 90-minute film consists of around 130,000 individual images (24 images per second) and thus occupies around 34 TB (275 MB × 130,000) of storage space.

In the case of completely computer-animated films or those that were partially shot on IMAX film, the letterbox effect that would otherwise result from the projection of "normal" widescreen films on the 4: 3 IMAX screens can be achieved by enlarging the image section above and below ( black bars above and below), avoided or at least reduced. This expansion of the vertical field of vision was seen, for example, in the films Avatar and Tron: Legacy .

In the past, certain scenes were converted into 3D for some DMR-edited films ( Superman Returns , Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix ); this was done by means of an elaborate “reconstruction” of the scenes in a 3D program. In the meantime, this is no longer necessary due to the current large number of 3D films.

When projecting, however, it must be noted that “conventional” films are usually longer than IMAX films. Therefore - depending on the available film platter system - there is a break after 60 to 100 minutes to change the film. Newer plate systems meanwhile allow a film length of a maximum of 160 minutes.

IMAX with laser

The latest IMAX projection process is based on digital double DLP technology with a resolution of 4K . A special feature is the use of laser light sources for the projection with which maximum contrast, i.e. deepest black and brightest white, as well as an enormous color range is achieved. An important part of the system is the so-called IMAX Free Space Light Engine , which replaces the obligatory conventional prism. The use of Invar as the material for the housing make the device insensitive to the high thermal loads caused by the laser light. The canvas has the format 1.43: 1 and is barrel-shaped.

The sound has been expanded from 6 to 12 channels plus sub-bass. Four new loudspeakers are now installed in the ceiling above the audience and two more in addition to the existing ones on the side walls. The loudspeakers behind the screen are presented in a short demonstration film at the beginning of each performance by individually lighting them up and making them briefly visible to the audience through the screen.

The IMAX cinema on Potsdamer Platz in Berlin and the IMAX Filmpalast in Karlsruhe were the first halls in Germany to be equipped with the new technology, which has been in operation since the beginning of November 2015. The IMAX with Laser in the CineStar IMAX at Potsdamer Platz was closed after December 31, 2019.

In Switzerland there is a cinema from the operator Pathé in Ebikon near Lucerne, which is equipped with IMAX laser technology.



At SIGGRAPH 1997 in Los Angeles, California, the IMAX Corporation presented its proprietary 3D animation and drawing tool SANDDE (Sterephonic Animation Drawing Device) for the first time. SANDDE is a system of hardware and software components that makes it possible to create 3D animation films for IMAX 3D cinemas. Roman Kroitor is considered the inventor, while development work is mainly assigned to his brother Paul Kroitor and Greg Labute.

SANDDE is particularly characterized by the fact that it even allows artists who have previously only drawn in 2D to draw pictures by hand in three-dimensional space after a short period of familiarization. The draftsman stands freely in a specially equipped room. A stick tool is used as a drawing tool, which builds up a magnetic field and thus transmits its own position in space directly to the computer system connected by cable. In order to be able to implement the shapes and movements of the magnetic tracker in real time, vector-based animation software was specially developed for IMAX 3D films. The system runs on Windows NT and was initially operated with Pentium III processors.

In order to enable the draftsman to view his work as similarly as possible to the later result, a similar technique is used that is also used in the IMAX 3D cinemas. For this purpose, a canvas with a maximum size of 4.88 m × 3.66 m is attached in front of the artist. The connected computer systems - based on the drawn image - render one image for the left eye and one for the right eye in real time and then project it through two projectors behind the draftsman. In order to be able to recognize the stereoscopic image emerging on the screen, the animator uses 3D glasses. Depending on the method used, this is polarization or shutter glasses. This enables him to optimally match his drawings to the perspective conditions in the IMAX 3D cinema. In contrast to 2D animation technology, it is only necessary to define the colors for the areas of an image in order to color the film. An automatic process transfers the color of the surfaces to the remaining frames.

In the IMAX 3D film "Legends of Flight", which was shown in American IMAX cinemas in June 2010, a sequence can be seen in which a pilot creates a 3D sketch of an aircraft using SANDDE technology.


Named after the carpenter who created the puppet Pinocchio , Geppetto is a complementary animation technique to SANDDE. It was first presented to the public at SIGGRAPH 1998 in Orlando, Florida and is used for animating characters created in 3D. While the keyframes were drawn with SANDDE, with GEPPETTO it is possible to automatically calculate the movements between them. The draftsman can implement changes in the movement of his characters by changing keyframes in real time. Like SANDDE, GEPPETTO is currently in the development stage.


Films will be shown that were recorded in the "IMAX 77 mm / 15P" format with special cameras (15 perforation holes per 70 mm image ). Due to technical factors (size and weight (80 kg) of a roll of film) IMAX films are rarely longer than an hour.

Film list (selection)

  • 3D for advanced users ( misadventures in 3D )
  • Adventure rainforest 3D ( bugs! )
  • Adrenaline rush ( Adrenaline Rush - The Science of Risk )
  • Africa - The Serengeti
  • Egypt
  • Acrobats of the skies
  • Alaska ( Alaska - Spirit of the Wild ), 1997
  • African Adventure 3D - Safari in the Okavango
  • Aliens of the Deep Sea 3D , filmed by James Cameron
  • Alice in Wonderland 3D (shot on 35 mm film , subsequently converted to 3D and converted to IMAX film format using the DMR process)
  • Amazon ( Amazon )
  • Antarctica ( Antarctica: An Adventure of a different Nature ), 1991
  • Aquaman IMAX 3D cinema, 2018
  • Avatar - Departure to Pandora 3D (only shot with stereoscopic 3D - HD cameras, but shown as an IMAX film)
  • Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
  • Bear ( Bears )
  • beaver
  • Blue Planet - A portrait of the earth
  • Born to be Wild 3D
  • Cirque du Soleil - Journey of Man 3D
  • Cyberworld 3D
  • The Haunted Castle 3D ( 2001, 38 min)
  • Dolphins ( dolphins )
  • Dolphins and whales 3D (only shot with HD cameras, but shown as an IMAX film)
  • Deep Sea 3D
  • The Blue Nile ( Mystery of the Nile )
  • The red planet - Expedition Mars ( Roving Mars )
  • The Black Stallion ( Young Black Stallion ) (short feature film by Disney)
  • Destiny in Space
  • The Alps ( The Alps )
  • Dinosaurs - giants of prehistoric times 3D (2007, 40 min)
  • Train Your Dragon 3D ( How to train your Dragon ) (2010, 98 min, by DMR process inflated , computer-animated 3D feature film)
  • Dunkirk
  • Echoes of the Sun (1990, 20 min) (so far the only IMAX film in the Solido process, see above)
  • Extreme - courage to take risks
  • Everest - summit without mercy
  • Fascination Planet Earth ( Sacred Planet )
  • Distant Paradises ( Greatest Places )
  • Free solo
  • Galapagos 3D (1999)
  • The Spirits of the Titanic ( Ghosts of the Abyss ) (by James Cameron ; only shot with HD cameras, but shown as an IMAX film)
  • Grand Canyon - The Hidden Secrets (1986)
  • Grand Canyon Adventure 3D: River at Risk (2008)
  • Greece - Secrets of the Past ( Greece Secrets of the Past ) (2006)
  • Hail Columbia!
  • Haie 3D ( Sharks ) (42 min)
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows , Part 1 (2010, shot on 35mm film and shown in IMAX DMR version)
  • Hidden Dimension (1997, 39 min)
  • Imagine 3D (1993, 22 min)
  • The Nutcracker Prince 3D ( IMAX Nutcracker , 1997, 40 min)
  • India - Kingdom of the Tigers
  • Interstellar (2014, 169 min)
  • Into the Deep (1995, 35 min)
  • Kilimanjaro ( Kilimanjaro - To the Roof of Africa )
  • L5 - First City In Space 3D (1996, 35 min) (not a documentation, but a science fiction film)
  • The legend of Beowulf ( computer-animated 3D film inflated by DMR process )
  • The Lion King ( Lion King , with improved image quality and shown in 4: 3 )
  • Lipizzaner - world of white horses
  • Madagascar 3: Escape through Europe
  • Men in Black 3
  • Mission Mond 3D ( Magnificent Desolation - Walking on the Moon 3D )
  • Mission to ME
  • NASCAR 3D (40 min)
  • New York 3D - A journey through time ( New York 3D - Across the Sea of ​​Time , 1995, 52 min)
  • Ocean Wonderland 3D (44 min, only shot with HD cameras, but shown as an IMAX film)
  • Odyssey 3D - Departure into the 3rd Dimension ( 3D Mania - Encounter in the Third Dimension , 40 min)
  • Over Canada - An Aerial Adventure
  • Race for Atlantis (5 min, an IMAX ride film)
  • Rolling Stones - Live at the MAX (1992, 90 min, must therefore be shown with a break)
  • Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010, only shot with stereoscopic HD cameras, but shown in an IMAX DMR version)
  • Resident Evil: Retribution (2012)
  • Santa vs. the Snowman 3D
  • Sea Monsters 3D
  • Ski to the Max (2000, shot by the former ski racer Willy Bogner )
  • Siegfried & Roy - The Magic Box (3D, 45 min)
  • Space Station 3D (2001)
  • Speed ​​Racer (2008, only shot with HD cameras, but shown in an IMAX DMR version)
  • SOS Planet (2002)
  • Sully (2016)
  • Superman Returns (2006, 148 min, only shot with HD cameras, but shown in an IMAX-DMR version with four scenes subsequently converted into 3D)
  • Survival Island (2000)
  • Stomp - A Pulse Odyssey
  • Tenet (film) (2020)
  • The Dark Knight (2008, 152 min, first fictional film, which was partly shot with IMAX cameras; the parts recorded in 35 mm were processed by DMR)
  • The Dark Knight Rises (2012, about 70 minutes out of 164)
  • The Last Buffalo (1990, 27 min, one of the first IMAX 3D films)
  • The Living Sea
  • Tiger Child (1970, the first IMAX film ever)
  • Top speed
  • Transformers - Die Rache (2009, second feature film, which was partly shot with IMAX cameras; the parts recorded in 35 mm were processed by DMR)
  • The dream of flying
  • T-Rex 3D ( Back to the Cretaceous , 1998, 40 min)
  • TRON LEGACY (2011, shot only with stereoscopic HD cameras, but shown in an IMAX DMR version)
  • U2 3D (2008, live concert by the band U2 ; only shot with stereoscopic HD cameras, but shown in an IMAX-DMR version)
  • Elemental forces of nature ( Forces of Nature )
  • Lost in the Andes 3D ( Wings of Courage 3D , 1996, first IMAX 3D feature film, director: Jean-Jacques Annaud )
  • Whales
  • Watchmen (shot on 35mm film and shown in an IMAX DMR version)
  • Water and Man - people and water
  • World of the body ( Body Worlds )
  • Cyclones ( stormchasers )
  • Wild Australia (2002)
  • Wild Safari 3D (shot on 35mm film and blow-up shown in IMAX cinemas)
  • Wonderful coral reef ( Coral Reef Adventure )
  • Yellowstone
  • 300 (2007, 116 min, filmed digitally and shown in an IMAX DMR version)

Shrek 3D (15 min), added to the reissue of the first Shrek movie on DVD, was also shown in 3D in IMAX cinemas in some countries.

Disney's The Lion King (1994) was shown in 2004 with additional scenes and improved picture and sound quality in IMAX cinemas. There was also an extended version of Beauty and the Beast . However, this happened before the introduction of IMAX DMR, which was first used under this name for the IMAX version of Apollo 13 .

The animated film Der Polarexpress (2004, 90 min) was shown using DMR in IMAX-3D format.

The following films were created with the IMAX-SANDDE ™ technology:

  • Paint Misbehavin ' (1997), directors: Peter Stephenson and Roman Kroitor, IMAX 3D, 2:07 min
  • CyberWorld 3D (2000), directors: Colin Davies and Elaine Despins, IMAX 3D, 55 min
  • Falling in Love Again (2003), director: Munro Ferguson, National Film Board of Canada, 2:57 min
  • Moon Man (2004), director: Paul Morstad, National Film Board of Canada, 2:30 min
  • June (2004), director: Munro Ferguson, National Film Board of Canada, 6:45 min


The currently largest IMAX theater can be found in Sydney Darling Harbor. There a 1050 m² screen is irradiated using an analog projection method (with 70 mm film, not digital).


There are IMAX cinemas in Germany in Berlin (IMAX in the UCI Luxe on Mercedes-Platz), in Karlsruhe (Filmpalast am ZKM), Bochum ( UCI- Kinowelt), Kassel (Filmpalast Kassel), Hamburg-Wandsbek and Hamburg-Othmarschen (UCI -Kinowelt) as well as in the technology museums Sinsheim (IMAX 3D) and Speyer (Dome).

The formerly most successful IMAX cinema in the world, the Discovery Channel IMAX Berlin , which opened in 1997 as the first IMAX theater in Berlin, was located near Potsdamer Platz until it closed on July 30, 2006; it was then converted into the show theater "Bluemax Theater", in which the Blue Man Group later performed. The newer Cinestar IMAX 3D was in the Sony Center (also on Potsdamer Platz) until March 27, 2011; in this, only IMAX 3D films and current DMR versions of normal feature films were shown on a 588 m² (28 × 21 m) screen. On May 18, 2011, it was reopened as CineStar Event Cinema after being converted to a reduced 300 m² silver screen with Barco 4K 3D projection. After a break in renovation, the CineStar EVENT Cinema was reopened on June 19, 2013 as CineStar IMAX. The projection took place until October 2015 with two digital DLP projectors in 2K resolution. With the premiere of James Bond 007 - Specter , the first 4K laser projection system was inaugurated in mainland Europe. The IMAX with Laser in the CineStar IMAX at Potsdamer Platz was closed after December 31, 2019.

Former IMAX in the Cinecittà Nuremberg , the dome screen is swiveled into the projection position

The IMAX in the Cinecittà Nuremberg , like the already mentioned Discovery Channel IMAX Berlin , housed two IMAX systems in one cinema, on the one hand an IMAX dome with a screen that can be swiveled backwards ( parking position ) and forwards ( presentation position ) and on the other hand IMAX 3D . This theater offers the audience in the dome an approximately 1000 m² picture and thus has the largest cinema screen in Germany. The flat screen on which 3D films are shown is smaller than the dome screen at 609 m² (29 × 21 m), but it still exceeds any dimension of conventional cinema screens. The IMAX cinema in Nuremberg was the largest in Europe and is completely underground. The contract with IMAX was terminated in 2010 for economic reasons. Since then, normal 3D films have been shown in the hall under the name Cinemagnum .

In the former Space Center (now Waterfront) Bremen there was also an IMAX cinema until it closed on September 26, 2004. It showed a 25-minute version of Space Station 3D during the park opening times, but served as a regular IMAX cinema after the park closed .

Thanks to a cooperation with the CinemaxX group, Germany's first digital IMAX 3D cinema was opened in November 2010 in the largest hall of the CinemaxX in Bremen. The projection took place here with two 2K ​​DLP projectors on a screen that is only slightly larger than a normal multiplex cinema screen. The cooperation ended on January 28, 2013.

The IMAX cinema in the Forum der Technik Munich (near the Deutsches Museum ), which also had 3D films on offer, had to be closed in early 2005 due to the operator's bankruptcy. After reopening as the “Forum at the Deutsches Museum”, the IMAX room was used for conventional film screenings, some with digital projection. From August 30, 2007, 3D films were shown in this cinema again, alternating with “normal” feature films, in digital 2K projection. As part of the general renovation of the Deutsches Museum, the cinema complex was bought back by the museum in 2009 and is being converted into a new entrance area for the museum. Together with the other cinemas still in existence, the IMAX cinema was closed at the end of June. A replacement is not planned.

In Düsseldorf there was an IMAX cinema in the UFA Palast at the main train station until 2001. Also the IMAX cinemas in Dettelbach / Franconia, Bochum (opened in December 1997, closed since March 2003, converted into an amusement arcade since 2011) and Frankfurt am Main (has been in operation as a 3D cinema with digital projection in 2K since mid-2007 the name Cinemagnum, which was closed in April 2012) had to close due to bankruptcy. In addition to the high investments , the reason given for the frequent closings is the low level of audience response due to a small selection of films that does not fill the entire evening and is not supplemented by current films.

In 2018, Kino 3 of the UCI Kinowelt in Bochum's Ruhr-Park was converted into an IMAX hall within eight weeks. At 170 m², the screen is significantly smaller than conventional IMAX screens. In Hamburg , too , a hall of the UCI Kino Othmarschen Park was fitted with an IMAX screen. In Berlin, films in IMAX format will also be shown in a new UCI cinema on Mercedes-Platz. Since December 2019, the Filmpalast Kassel has an IMAX cinema.

In Leonberg , Baden-Württemberg , a new IMAX cinema with a screen of 40 by 26 meters is to be opened in November 2020. That would make it the largest cinema screen in Germany.


There is a Gaumont IMAX cinema in the “Disney Village” at Disneyland Resort Paris ; there has also been the IMAX dome cinema La Géode in the Parc de la Villette in the northeast of Paris since 1985 .

A specialty in France is the Futuroscope , an amusement park that deals with the future. It is located in Chasseneuil-du-Poitou near Poitiers . Old and new films are shown in the many different cinemas. These theaters include several IMAX theaters that use the various IMAX techniques identified above. Although the films are shown in French, the sound of the film can also be received in German and English via headphones.

Great Britain

In the UK, there are IMAX cinemas in Belfast , Birmingham , Bradford , Edinburgh , Glasgow and Manchester and two in London (not far from Waterloo Station and the Science Museum ). One IMAX cinema in Bournemouth closed after only three years of operation in 2005 , and another in Bristol in 2007.


Israel has 3D IMAX cinemas in Eilat , Jerusalem and Be'er Sheva .


There is also an IMAX cinema in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi .


In Croatia , Cinestar -IMAX was opened on April 14, 2011 in Zagreb .


In The Hague there is an IMAX cinema in the Netherlands called Omniversum. In addition, IMAX 3D films will be shown in six cinemas of the Pathé cinema chain. There is also an IMAX in the Pathé Arena in Amsterdam.


In Poland there are IMAX cinemas in Katowice , Krakow , Łódź , Poznan and Warsaw .


Sweden has two real IMAX theaters. The first is in the Naturhistoriska riksmuseet in Stockholm and is called Cosmonova . The second is located in the Mall of Scandinavia in Solna and is also the first commercial IMAX cinema in Sweden. The Akva Mega in Pite Havsbad near the town of Piteå and the Kreanova in the Kreativum center in Karlshamn use a slightly smaller film format.


In 1996 an IMAX cinema, with the largest IMAX cinema screen in the country, was opened in Lucerne in the Swiss Museum of Transport (museum). From February 2010, however, the name was changed from IMAX-Filmtheater to Verkehrshaus-Filmtheater and it is no longer an officially licensed IMAX cinema, because the 3D films shown in the Verkehrshaus-Filmtheater are not mainly in the 70mm IMAX film format, but can be shown in digital form. 2D IMAX films will still be projected from 70mm film. In addition to the former IMAX cinema in Lucerne, there is also something from the cinema operator Pathé in Ebikon at the Mall of Switzerland , Geneva and Spreitenbach (Ebikon and Spreitenbach with IMAX laser) . In Muri bei Bern there is also an IMAX cinema from the Kitag chain .


In Valencia there has been L'Hemisfèric since 1998 , which combines an IMAX cinema and a planetarium in one room. It was designed by the architect Santiago Calatrava and forms part of the Ciudad de las Artes y de las Ciencias . There is also an IMAX cinema in Barcelona on the Moll d'Espanya.


In Taipei there is an IMAX cinema No. 87, Section 2, Wuchang Street, 108 Wanhua District Taipei.

Czech Republic

The Czech Republic has an IMAX cinema in Prague in the Palac Flora.


There are currently four LG IMAX cinemas in Turkey ; three of them in Istanbul .


The former IMAX Vienna
Demolition of the former IMAX Vienna

The first IMAX cinema in Austria was initially opened in Pasching (where the last IMAX to date was opened again on July 1, 2016) next to the PlusCity shopping center . From the beginning, this location was only intended as a temporary solution; the cinema was later to move to Linz . Since the operator and the city of Linz could not agree on the location (among other things, the Donaulände was under discussion) and the architectural design, the cinema was finally moved to Vienna next to the Technical Museum . For a few years it was housed in a makeshift building on the east side of the museum, later it was rebuilt on the west side and reopened in 2002.

On November 16, 2005 the only IMAX cinema in Austria had to be closed due to the bankruptcy of the operator LFC. Negotiations about the continuation of cinema operations by IMAX Corp. themselves failed, although the Bundesimmobiliengesellschaft (BIG), as the owner of the IMAX building, had offered to forego the rent for the time being and only bring it back later through a profit sharing. The IMAX Corp. however, did not want to take on any operator risks, which is why BIG had to break off the negotiations.

There are many reasons for bankruptcy, but they are mainly due to a lack of visitors. Initially a magnet for visitors and fully booked for months, the number of visitors has declined more and more in recent years. The choice of location next to the Technical Museum was often criticized. Poor accessibility by public transport is one possible cause of the failure; there are neither restaurants nor other leisure facilities worth mentioning in the vicinity . Furthermore, marketing (apart from billposting) was almost entirely dispensed with, and the selection of films was comparatively modest and not particularly varied. One of the reasons was probably the technical museum's unwillingness to cooperate.

In September 2007 the Bundesimmobiliengesellschaft (BIG) decided to sell the entire building, including the parking lot and underground car park, which went to finanz4you Projekt Invest Ges.mbH in November 2007 for a sum of 4.65 million euros . In May 2009, the City of Vienna approved a hotel project on the site of the cinema, which should be completed by 2011. The demolition of the cinema began in October 2009.

Since the IMAX was closed, the only big screen cinema in Austria was the Maxoom in Hartberg that uses a 70 mm / 8-perf process. In 2008, Cineplexx entered into a cooperation with IMAX, which originally intended to equip three cinemas in Austria with digital IMAX projection technology. The halls in the Cineplexx cinemas in Vienna near the Reichsbrücke and in Graz (opening in March 2009), as well as another hall in western Austria (from autumn 2009), were to be converted. From 2015 IMAX entered into a cooperation with Hollywood Megaplex and confirmed the locations in St. Pölten and Pasching near Linz.

  • The plans were changed and one hall in the Apollo Kino in Vienna and one in the Cineplexx in Graz were converted for a total of 1.5 million euros . Since June 24, 2009 IMAX films have been shown there again.
  • Since May 19, 2011 there has also been a hall with the IMAX-3D process in the Cineplexx in Hohenems .
  • Since the end of 2012 the Cineplexx in the Donauplex in Vienna has also been equipped with the latest IMAX technology.
  • Since December 2013 there is an IMAX 3D in the Cineplexx Salzburg City.
  • The first IMAX hall in Lower Austria was opened in June 2015 in the Hollywood Megaplex St. Pölten. In order to get the necessary screen format, the hall was raised by 3 meters.
  • Austria's largest IMAX has been in the Hollywood Megaplex PlusCity near Linz since July 1, 2016. With a screen size of over 330 m² and almost 600 seats, it is by far the largest IMAX room in Austria. At the opening, it was named one of the "Top 10 IMAX halls" worldwide by IMAX Europe President Andrew Cripps. It is also the first IMAX hall in the German-speaking area that was already planned as an IMAX hall in the planning phase.
  • Since December 13, 2017, the Cineplexx Innsbruck also has an IMAX room.

Web links

Commons : IMAX  - collection of images, videos and audio files


IMAX theater

Individual evidence

  1. Press release from IMAX regarding the technology used when switching from film to digital
  2. +++ The end of the Race for Atlantis ... - Freizeitpark News NRW | Facebook. In: Retrieved March 26, 2016 .
  3. Bizar beeld: Phantasialand sloopt simulator Race for Atlantis. In: Looopings. March 16, 2016, accessed March 26, 2016 .
  4. ( Memento of the original from October 9, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. IMAX with laser  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  5. Program in your cinema CineStar IMAX in the Sony Center. Retrieved December 21, 2019 .
  6. IMAX Presents: Dunkirk. In: July 26, 2017, accessed August 6, 2017 .
  7. IMAX and CineStar announce official cooperation - laser projection arrives
  8. CineStar IMAX Sony Center Berlin | Cinema compendium. In: Retrieved December 14, 2015 .
  9. Program in your cinema CineStar IMAX in the Sony Center. Retrieved December 21, 2019 .
  10. ^ No more IMAX cinema in Nuremberg , Nürnberger Nachrichten of October 19, 2010
  11. Weser-Kurier of November 17, 2010
  12. IMAX in CinemaxX Bremen  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /  
  13. Report in the Augsburger Allgemeine from February 23, 2010 ( Memento of the original from February 27, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  14. Sven Westernstöer: New technology conveys spectacular cinema experiences. In: Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung . Funke Mediengruppe , May 30, 2018, accessed June 1, 2018 .
  15. ^ Arnold Einholz: Imax cinema in Leonberg: Great cinema. In: Leonberger Kreiszeitung . September 10, 2019, accessed April 22, 2020 .
  16. Ulrike Otto: Dream Palace Leonberg: A hit for the Imax cinema. In: Leonberger Kreiszeitung . February 26, 2019, accessed April 22, 2020 .
  18. Largest IMAX screen in Switzerland
  19. ^ Report in of September 21, 2007
  20. BIG press release on the sale (PDF) ( Memento of the original from January 31, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  21. Report on  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /  
  22. OTS: Cineplexx brings IMAX (R) back to Austria
  23. Die Presse: Imax comes to the Apollo in Vienna and the Cineplexx Graz .
  25. IMAX opening on May 19th in the Cineplexx Hohenems
  26. The Cineplexx Salzburg City gets an IMAX hall | Cineplexx AT. In: Retrieved May 4, 2016 .
  27. Hollywood Megaplex brings IMAX to N.Ö.
  28. Austria's largest IMAX cinema opens in PlusCity. Retrieved July 14, 2016 .
  29. Hollywood Megaplex PlusCity opens Austria's largest IMAX cinema. Retrieved July 14, 2016 .
  30. For the first time in Tyrol - We bring IMAX to Innsbruck. Retrieved December 13, 2017 .