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"The Maze Runner" Gets Wider with Extra Screens in "Escape" Theaters

Posted on Friday, August 29th, 2014 3:19 PM

The upcoming action/adventure movie, The Maze Runner, will open in a new wider, three-screen, format called "Escape" in select theaters across the country, according to an article in The Hollywood Reporter:

Earlier this year, digital cinema projector maker Barco unveiled Escape, a new theater configuration that is a sort of Cinerama for the digital age. Now, the first Escape theaters are getting the finishing touches and will open with Fox’s Sept. 19 release of The Maze Runner, the first feature film to be specially prepped for exhibition in these venues.

One of the early challenges for this brand will be how to produce movies to support the format. Escape uses three digital cinema projectors and three screens — one in the traditional center position and the others on either side wall to create a panoramic image. And Fox is already testing production options from visual effects to unique multicamera setups.

In the case of The Maze Runner, the film was shot in a traditional way, before the decision to use Escape was made. The center screen will display the live-action film, and imagery on the side screens will be extensions of the scenes — i.e., a larger maze — created using visual effects.

Click the Read link to view the full article.

The details are sparse at this point, but the effect appears to be achieved using flat screens that flank the traditional movie screen in the middle (as can be seen in the screenshot from a Barco promo video below):

Screenshot of Barco Escape

Comparisons are being made to Cinerama, which is format that was introduced in 1952 and used three projectors to fill a curved screen that covered 146 degrees of your vision if you were seated in the best seat in the house. Due to the complexity of making and showings movies in the format, it stopped being used in the mid-1960s.

Based on the sample above showing flat screens flanking the main screen, and the fact that The Maze Runner will only have peripheral scenery added to show on those screens, I'm not all that excited about the prospects of this adding to the moviegoing experience and its ability to get any kind of a foothold in mainstream theaters. I've seen How the West Was Won in Cinerama and was quite impressed by the experience, and I don't think this will be anything close to what I experienced.

The article above does say that The Maze Runner will be shown in the Escape format in the following locations:

Do You Want to See a Movie in the Escape Format?

What do you think? Is this the future of movies or just an experiment waiting to fail? Let us know in the comments below!

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Aug 29, 2014 - BigScreen Reader  

There are some gamers who would love to do something like this:

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