Transformers and Night at the Museum go IMAX

Well, perhaps it’s happened: the moons aligned, big budget blockbuster has met the character study, the hype has been satisfied, and the studio executives are taking the right cues.

The proverbial thermometer has officially burst: The Dark Knight has made over $700 million worldwide, a good portion of which comes from tickets sold at IMAX theaters. In its first two weekends, fans rabidly pursued any available seats at the major IMAX theaters, knowing that some of the film was shot specially on IMAX cameras (the first fiction film to ever be shot this way), and that the IMAX experience was the best way to see Dark Knight.

Do you remember that period of ten days when all of The Dark Knight IMAX show-times were sold out, every single one? I do. Ah, three weeks ago. It was a much simpler world back then.

Well, now that The Dark Knight is on its way to becoming the highest grossing movie of all time, studios have been eager to hop on that money-train, trying to isolate what The Dark Knight got so right—and though I would have preferred for them to realize that a complex, layered story and rich character arcs were the way to go– it seems that they have decided that a wide release on IMAX screens is the key to success.

Upcoming high-profile sequels with epic colons in their names Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian will see release on IMAX screens in mid-2009. While it doesn’t look like they will be shot on IMAX cameras, it probably won’t matter: their prequel counterparts had no trouble making big box office money (Transformers made $708 million worldwide at the end of its run in 2007, while NATM made $574 million when it bowed out of theaters).

While it’s not a great leap forward, it’s a start: The Dark Knight’s success could mean a change in approach for many studio executives.

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