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Wauwatosa, WI: IMAX Coming to AMC Mayfair Mall 18

Posted on Wednesday, August 19, 2009 1:37 PM

AMC Mayfair Mall 18 in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin.The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is reporting that the AMC Mayfair Mall 18 in the Mayfair Mall in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin will be adding an IMAX screen this fall. This would be the second IMAX screen in the Milwaukee metropolitan area, but since the other one is a dome theater (the Humphrey IMAX Dome Theater), the Mayfair installation would be the only IMAX screen in the area where movies can be seen without the distortion of a domed viewing surface.

The article mentions that a Mayfair AMC employee said that the new IMAX screen will debut on November 6, 2009. This would be timed for the release of Disney's A Christmas Carol: An IMAX 3D Experience, which would imply that the theater will also be able to show IMAX movies in 3D, but since there is little to no official information from AMC or IMAX, that's just speculation.

Since we're speculating, it's probably safe to also speculate that the new installation will be using the IMAX Digital setup that AMC and IMAX have been introducing with increasing volume in the past year. AMC began rolling out IMAX Digital installations last summer (see related Journal Article), and a large number of AMC theaters have either been converted from IMAX film systems or had IMAX Digital equipment installed when the IMAX auditorium was built.

Perhaps the biggest question that I will be curious to see answered is what size the new screen will be? Back in May, there was quite a dust-up about IMAX movies being shown on screens not much larger than traditional movie screens, but advertised as the "IMAX Experience." Television and movie actor Aziz Ansari (Parks & Recreation, I Love You Man) created a stir on the Internet as he ranted about seeing Star Trek: The IMAX Experience on a screen that was not the traditional mega-sized IMAX screen he was expecting. While some went overboard (as some are apt to do), the fact that a movie experience is being advertised as being impressive and attached to the IMAX brand, but being shown on a screen not much larger than a regular movie screen, is a valid concern. When theaters are charging $4-$5 more for that experience, consumers have a right to complain!

Comparison of IMAX screen sizes - copyright 2009
Would you like your theater super-sized? We do!

My guess is that AMC will have to compete well with Marcus and their UltraScreen installations at the Marcus Majestic Brookfield in Waukesha and the Marcus North Shore Cinemas in Mequon. Both locations are within driving distance of Mayfair Mall, and will be competing for some of the same audiences that would be attracted to the new IMAX screen.

Since both UltraScreen installations are about 70' wide, I'm going to guess that AMC will go for the traditional "big screen" IMAX experience that befits the name, and go with the 72' wide by 50' high. This would match the dimensions of the IMAX screen at the AMC South Barrington 30 and it would beat the height of the UltraScreens by about 20'. This will give AMC the edge when people are deciding if they want to see Disney's A Christmas Carol: An IMAX 3D Experience at Mayfair, or go to one of the UltraScreens to see Disney's A Christmas Carol in Disney Digital 3D instead.

If AMC does the right thing and installs the 70' wide screen, it will definitely heat up the competition for big screens in the Milwaukee area! Competition is a good thing for consumers, and hopefully we'll see pricing and quality go in the proper directions for each.

Click the Read link below to read the full article on JSOnline.com.

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Please Note: These comments are submitted by the readers of The BigScreen Cinema Guide and represent their own personal opinions, and do not represent the views of The BigScreen Cinema Guide, or any of its associated entities.

Aug 20, 2009 - Ron Higgins VIP Member

"This one won't be an IMAX dome or a high-rise, but the screen will be 25% larger than a typical movie screen, said Justin Scott, an AMC spokesman. No walls or ceilings will be moved at Mayfair to accommodate the screen, but all new digital projection and audio equipment will be installed. The theater will be reconfigured to seat 340 people, he said." 

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