It’s only a matter of time before everyone starts installing IMAX projectors in their homes, right? Well, probably not. Aside from the fact that everything IMAX-related is large, difficult to operate, and expensive—in 2011, a family in Silverleaf, Arizona built a IMAX theatre in their home for an estimated two million dollars—there are licensing hurdles that few individuals could ever navigate. However, recognizing a demand they can’t possibly service with their theatrical projection system, the company has decided to dive into the home theatre market with the announcement of the IMAX Private Theatre.
While these theatres obviously can’t offer the same services as real IMAX theatres (such as large format film projection), the company will send technicians to customize your home theatre to your personal needs and outfit this facility with sound and projection gear created entirely by IMAX. The actual cost of all this isn’t specified on the IMAX Private Theatre website, but a hefty price tag is implied by the tagline: “Everyone’s experienced it. Few will own it.” If you win the lottery or inherit a large sum of money, be sure to request “a personal introduction.”
Increasingly, it seems that IMAX’s public theatres may become the last home for first-run celluloid projection, as most of the major theatre chains are currently completing the transition to digital projection. It could be that IMAX recognizes a threat to their central service, forcing them to broaden their brand identity by expanding into the quality assurance business that most associate with companies like THX. If IMAX is successful in this arena, one can only hope that they take a step back from the exclusivity that has been their preoccupation and start making their technology available at consumer-friendly prices. That won’t ever happen, but it would be nice if it did.