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AMC Theatres® announced on Friday that it is now offering Los Angeles-area guests an upgraded moviegoing experience at the AMC Burbank 16 and AMC Century City 15, with new brand to identify the upgraded option: ETX™ (Enhanced Theatre Experience).
According to the press release, "ETX includes a 20-percent larger screen, 3D technology, digital projection and an upgraded sound system. Specifically, the digital projection system produces images at a higher resolution than HD and there are nearly twice as many audio channels compared to typical auditoriums. As a result of this improved experience, guests will not simply watch a movie. They will live it in ETX."
Presumably, this means that they are using 4K Digital Cinema Projection systems (a move which was announced by AMC in March 2009), but the exact screen size and sound systems of these upgraded auditoriums are not detailed in the press release or any other AMC information that could be found.
Are these new systems going to be able to play 7.1 channel sound that is coming out on Toy Story 3? One would hope, but as of yet, there is no confirmation of that.
It's possible that ETX is AMC's answer to the Marcus UltraScreens, Cinemark's XD auditoriums, and the like, which are obvious alternatives to IMAX installations. AMC has a fair number of IMAX screens as well, so the mix is interesting and perhaps a little confusing. Interestingly enough, the AMC Burbank 16 was at the center of controversy last year when comedian Aziz Ansari was angry about paying extra to see a movie in the IMAX theater there only to be very disappointed with a smaller screen than he was expecting as a result of the IMAX branding.
Potentially confusing is how much customers are going to pay for the pleasure of seeing a movie in one of these ETX auditoriums. At the Burbank location, ETX is a $4 upgrade for 2D movies. If you're going to see a 3D movie, it will be $6 extra.
This is $1 more than 3D in a standard auditorium, but $1 less than IMAX 3D. It's $2 less than standard IMAX, so depending on the size of the screen and the quality of the sound system, the ETX showing may give you an equivalent bang for less buck.
In our showtimes, ETX showtimes are marked with a note that reads "ETX: Enhanced Theatre Experience" so our readers will be able to find these shows easily.
Source: AMC Press Release
Should You Have to Pay Extra to Get the Best Presentation Possible?
With all of these types of announcements, it seems to be a theme that if you want the best possible presentation, you have to pay an upcharge. $18 for a 3D movie is quite a bit of money!
On one hand, we're glad to see that theaters are offering enhanced experiences, but on the other hand, why should it cost 33% more to get an experience that some would argue should be offered in the first place?
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