The Summer of the IMAX?

Even though IMAX theaters have been in the United States since the 1970’s, they have been really gaining popularity in the past decade – could this summer be the biggest summer yet for IMAX theaters?

Consider this: While expected blockbuster film Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 raked in a record topping $400 million at its debut, it set another record, scoring $23.2 million of the total take just in IMAX viewings alone.

Now that’s some real magic.   

More and more movies are being produced with these IMAX figures in mind.  The IMAX option gives moviegoers an entirely original cinema experience.

"Harry Potter was really big at Penn Cinema and huge at Penn Cinema IMAX," Penn Ketchum, who owns Penn Cinema in Lancaster, Pa., said in an interview with Lancast July 11. "And it’s the same thing with pretty much all other movies. If it’s a huge hit then it’s super huge (in IMAX)."

The Harry Potter movie trumped fellow summer blockbuster "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" by just $100,000, which held on to the all-time IMAX record for only two weeks. These impressive numbers were accumulated from just over 500 IMAX theaters worldwide.

When "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" is added to the mix, summer 2011 has had several huge blockbusters, all of which were in IMAX, making this summer not only the summer for long movie titles, but also the summer of the IMAX.

Penn Cinema actually debuted its new IMAX 3D theatre last November during the "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1" opening weekend. It was a massive hit.

The theater enjoyed the success of several other blockbusters shown in IMAX this summer (Pirates, Transformers, Super 8, Thor, Cars 2 and, of course, Harry Potter), and Ketchum believes IMAX truly enhances the viewing experience.

"(IMAX) really adds value to the movie and we think they’re awesome," Ketchum said.

The final potential blockbuster IMAX release this summer is "Cowboys and Aliens" which hit the (really) big screen this weekend. Ketchum includes this in his list of must-see IMAX movies of 2011, along with "Mission: Impossible– Ghost Protocol" which comes out in December.

AidemMedia recently shot a commercial for Penn Cinema’s IMAX which can be seen below. We shot this 15-second commercial in a cinematic style which is comparable to a blockbuster movie trailer.

What movies have you seen this summer in IMAX? Did it enhance your viewing experience?