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The Consolidated Theatres Ward 16 in Honolulu, Hawaii is following in the footsteps of Cinemark, AMC, Regal, and other theater chains by opening a special, larger screen that they are calling Titan Extreme Cinema ("Titan XC"). The first day of operation will be tomorrow, June 18, 2010 and they'll be playing Toy Story 3 in Disney Digital 3D.
The Titan XC screen measures 66' wide x 35' high, which compares well against many IMAX screens, especially the reduced-size multiplex IMAX screens. Some of Cinemark's XD screens are about 72' wide and the RPX installation at the Regal E-Walk 13 in New York City has a screen that is 60' wide, so the Titan XC is in the range of those systems.
What is of concern, however, is that the Titan XC screen aspect ratio is 1.89:1, which is very close to the traditional 1.85:1 "flat" aspect ratio. This most likely means that movies like Furry Vengeance will play at full width and full height, while "scope" movies that are 2.35:1, such as the recent Robin Hood and the upcoming Inception, will be letterboxed.
This is reverse of what is generally accepted as the best practice in movie theaters, where the flat aspect ratio should be projected narrower than the widescreen scope movies. The idea is that a flat movie is more intimate and the focus can be primarily on people's faces and close situations, where a scope movie is expansive and should take up more of your visual perception.
It's ironic that high-end home theaters are aspiring to having wide 2.35:1 screens, and commercial theaters are making their screens more like TV's...
Moviegoers will be able to enjoy 3D movies in the Titan XC screen, thanks to the XpanD 3D system that has been installed. The XpanD system uses active glasses that are battery-powered to switch the left and right lenses on and off, as opposed to some other systems which use passive glasses and rely on filtering techniques to create the 3D effect. The reusable glasses are washed and sanitized after each show.
On the sound front, the new Titan XC installation has a 75,000 watt sound system that is capable of producing 7.1 channels of sound (three channels in the front, right and left surround, right and left rear surround, and a subwoofer channel). This dovetails nicely with the fact that Toy Story 3 in Disney Digital 3D features a new Dolby Surround 7.1 sound format. According to the press release, they have 18 surround speakers on the walls and even 14 surround speakers installed in the ceiling to make sure that no seat is without pulsating sound from all around it.
In addition to the picture and the sound, guests will be able to enjoy leather seating throughout the auditorium. Reserved seating is also available.
As is the case with other such offerings, ticket prices are higher for shows in the Titan XC auditorium:
There doesn't appear to be any matinee pricing in the Titan XC auditorium. So, for a family of two adults and two children wanting to see Toy Story 3 in 3D this weekend, the total cost of admission will be $58.50. That's only $4.00 more than seeing the movie in one of the non-Titan screens ($10.50 more if you're going during matinee hours), but it's not an insignificant expense when choosing an afternoon's entertainment.
How Does the Titan XC Measure Up?
This new offering is a direct competitor to any IMAX-branded theaters, as well as other non-IMAX large-screen offerings by other movie theater chains. The closest IMAX theater is located at the Regal Theatres Dole Cannery 18 in Honolulu. It appears to be the only large-screen venue playing first-run movies in competition with the Ward 16.
While I was not able to find out the exact size of the screen there, it's using a digital projector, so its size must be less than 74' wide x 45' high. Most such screens are much smaller than that.
The ticket prices at the Dole Cannery 18 bring a showing of Toy Story 3: An IMAX Experience for our sample family of four to $62.00, which is $3.50 more expensive than the new Titan XC at the Ward 16.
Source: Consolidated Theatres Press Release
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