Is IMAX Worth It? A Detailed Review

Is IMAX really worth it? If you’re thinking about buying tickets for the latest blockbuster movie, then you might want to consider investing in IMAX tickets.

The company has been around since 1965, and they’ve grown into one of the largest cinema chains in North America.

They also produce their own movies, and some of them are even nominated for Academy Awards.

IMAX is a shortening of ‘maximum image’ and is known for its large screens and high quality sound.

Is IMAX Worth It? A Detailed Review

Their films are shown in 70 mm film format, which means they look better than regular 35 mm or Digital Cinema formats.

And because of the size of the screen, it’s easier to see details such as actors’ facial expressions, and hidden details in films.

But what makes IMAX so special? What sets them apart from other companies? Why should we pay more money to go to an IMAX theater instead of going to our local Cineplex?

Let’s take a closer look at IMAX and break down what makes them the cinematic titans that they are.

What Is IMAX?

The first IMAX theaters opened in 1965 by George Lucas in California. He used 16 mm film stock that was four times larger than normal 35 mm film.

It allowed him to show scenes with greater detail and clarity. This would come to be a recurring theme for IMAX as they always put quality first. 

In 1967, he released his first feature-length motion picture called “Star Wars” and it became the first ever IMAX release.

Since then, IMAX has continued to provide high tier quality cinema, focusing on giving the customer the best possible experience, regardless of any other shortcomings.

In the early 2000s, IMAX decided to change things up a bit. They wanted to bring back some old magic from the original IMAX theaters.

So they began using digital projectors instead of the older 70 mm film projectors. With digital projectors, the images were clearer and more vibrant.

At the same time, they added 3D capability to the theaters allowing IMAX to provide customers with whatever they wanted from their cinematic desires.

What’s So Different? 

IMAX has two types of theaters: standard and IMAX. Standard theaters have 3D capability and digital projectors.

These theaters use 70 mm film, which gives the images a much sharper resolution than traditional 35 mm film. But these theaters can’t show IMAX movies.

IMAX theaters have only 2D capability, but they have massive screens (up to 40 feet wide) and use digital projectors.

These projectors create a much brighter image than standard theaters. These theaters also use 70 mm film, but it’s specially processed to give the images a much higher resolution.

IMAX’s screens are 60 feet wide and 30 feet tall. This makes them almost twice as large as any other theater as instead of having a large screen placed on the wall, IMAX screens take up the whole wall.

And since the screens are so large, viewers really get the 3 dimensional feel that IMAX is always trying to get through to the viewer.

As well as this they also show movies with stereo sound, which just adds to the immersion that viewers feel when in an IMAX cinema.

It’s amazing, you can really allow your imagination to run wild when watching an IMAX movie.

So why else choose IMAX over standard theaters? Well, there are several reasons. For starters, IMAX uses their special 70 mm film, which provides a much crisper image than standard 35 mm film.

Also, the IMAX projector creates a stunningly bright image, which allows for their signature wall sized screen, meaning that everyone can enjoy the film to the absolute max.

However, IMAX doesn’t just offer big screens and fancy lights; they also offer insanely great audio, they’re not afraid to turn it up to 11 all for the magic of the big screen.

Because of all of this, IMAX is often considered the ultimate place to watch a movie.

If you’re not already convinced, here’s a quick list of the different features you can expect from an IMAX cinema:

  1. Bigger Screens — The average IMAX screen is about 42 feet wide and 38 feet tall. That’s nearly double the size of a regular movie theater and it fills the entire wall with sweet crispy textures on a special resolution developed for IMAX specially.
  2. Better Sound — IMAX theaters typically have Dolby Digital 7.1 surround sound, which means that the sound will fill every corner of the room.
  3. More comfortable seating — IMAX seats are designed specifically for comfort. There are no hard edges or sharp corners on the seat. 


Although all of these fantastic features set IMAX apart, unfortunately if you want to enjoy all of these features, you’re going to have to fork out extra money for the ticket.

On average the price of admission (varying on what type of theater you go to), for a standard theater is $12-$15 per person. Instead, an IMAX ticket usually costs between $20-$25 per person. 

If you want to see a 3D movie, you’ll need to pay extra. Prices vary based on how many tickets you buy and where you purchase your tickets, but it’s clear to see that it’s a major price increase from the standard ticket.

There’s very little to say here however, for some spending those extra dollars may be worth it for the experience, and some may not think so. It’s best to decide what’s right for you at the time. 

Factors Affecting The Worth Of IMAX Experience

So seeing as you’ll be paying extra to see an IMAX film, it’s important to know how you can get your money’s worth.

The first factor that affects the value of seeing an IMAX movie is the length of the movie.

Most IMAX movies run generally around 90 minutes long, while most standard films run anywhere from 100-120 minutes. When watching a longer movie, you get more time to enjoy the experience.  

Another thing that affects the value of an IMAX movie is whether the movie was shot using IMAX cameras.

Some recent films such as the Star Wars sequels and the recent James Bond movies have been filmed using IMAX cameras, which only makes the IMAX experience better for you, the customer.

If the movie hasn’t been filmed in an IMAX camera the quality of the movie will go down.

Positioning of course is important too. Sitting in the center in the middle of the cinema is going to give you a perfect experience, as the speakers are adjusted for your viewing pleasure, and the screen is a good distance away.

But if you’re sitting in a corner, or too close to the screen, it might not be worth the extra dollars to see the IMAX film.

Of course, all of this high-tech equipment also means that IMAX cinemas are relatively rarer than just your average cinema, some of us might not be fortunate to be able to experience what it’s like to watch an IMAX movie. 

Overall, it’s going to be a case by case basis, but if it’s a film you’re really excited about, and you know you can get a great seat – sure why not throw in the extra dollars for your own viewing pleasure? 


If you’ve ever seen a film in 3D then you probably know about some shortcomings of watching a film this way.

You’re forced to wear flimsy, bad fitting glasses that irritate your face, and because of this you lose interest in the film you’re watching because you can’t relax. 

You probably didn’t know however that IMAX 3D is very different to regular 3D.

For starters, IMAX 3D theaters are equipped with more advanced, higher resolution digital projectors that produce images in three dimensions.

The IMAX 3D theaters have huge circular screens, which facilitates the viewers with real motion pictures.

Compared to regular 3D cinemas which use polarized glasses that create the illusion of three dimensions.

The advanced IMAX 3D projectors project both left and right images on the special silver-coated IMAX 3D screen at the same time.

This allows viewers to really feel like they’re in the world of the movie they’re watching, and overall makes for a much more believable experience than standard 3D.

As well as this, the viewpoints are separated in these theaters, through the IMAX 3D glasses separating the images, such that, the left and right eyes, each see a different view.

The geometry of the theater is constructed in a manner wherein the viewers are able to view the entire picture or movie from all the directions. 

Altogether all of these small changes to standard 3D makes IMAX 3D an absolute powerhouse compared to it, no more taking your glasses off and squinting, wondering why you paid extra for 90 minutes of squinting and straining your eyes.

Instead IMAX allows you to be immersed in the world that the movie is presenting to you, and with the same fantastic speakers, and reclining chairs they use for the 2D experience, it’s hard to not get lost in the magic of it all. 

Final Thoughts

IMAX is still absolutely the best way to see movies in theaters, and for all the different technological reasons for that, there’s still a huge one which is difficult to put into words.

The magic of the movies is really encapsulated by IMAX, and clearly they know that, which is exactly why they go to all of these extra efforts to let viewers really immerse themselves in whatever they’re watching.

IMAX is a movie theater format that has been around for over 30 years and is still going strong today and with everything listed in this article it’s really not hard to see why.

So next time you’re at the movies and you’re really excited to see what you want to watch, why not give IMAX a go?

Sure it’s gonna cost more but I really do doubt you’ll regret it. Just remember to keep your phone off!

Anita Jones