IMAX cinema opens in Nairobi on Friday

Kenyans will be able to enjoy cutting-edge motion picture and sound technologies starting Friday March 30 when the country’s first digital IMAX theatre system opens at the 20th Century Plaza in Nairobi.

IMAX Theatre Development Vice President John Schreiner said they will showcase only the best Hollywood blockbusters and educational documentaries and they have made significant changes to the 20th Century Auditorium to ensure viewers get a mind blowing experience.

“We’ve combined two cinema halls into one, raised the roof and we’ve installed a screen which goes from wall to wall; floor to ceiling,” he revealed.

“We changed the angle of the seating deck so that everything in the auditorium is completely different from what was there before and when the lights go down, the really powerful projectors light up the screen in a way where you can’t see anything else but the movie screen,” he added.

Two digital projectors will simultaneously project images onto the screen to simulate the left and right eye, which creates the 3D effect.

“The projectors make it so that light is polarized at two different angles and it’s reflected back to viewers wearing special 3D glasses, which filter out the two types of lights creating an optical illusion,” he said.

Shreiner confirmed that there’s currently an IMAX theatre in Morocco which opened in December and one is expected to be launched in Cairo, Egypt later this year.

IMAX hopes to drive profitability for studios, exhibitors and theatres by eliminating the need for film prints, increasing program flexibility and ultimately increasing the number of movies shown on IMAX screens.

If the venture proves to be successful in Nairobi, entertainment investor Blue Sky World Ltd. plans to open two IMAX theatres in Mombasa in two years’ time and establish another screen in Nairobi.

The new theatre in the heart of the city has a capacity of 255 seats and features the biggest movie screen in Kenya, which is 17 by 9 meters. Schreiner said that the 1.2 Kilowatt speakers emit such clear sound that audiences will feel immersed in the films.

“It’s the most powerful sound system of any movie theatre today so you’ll feel it when a rocket ship takes off. You will feel it right in your chest and the sound is so sensitive that you can even hear a pin drop,” he explained.

In addition to the IMAX theatre, customers will also be able to enjoy an ultra-modern 24 hour lounge where patrons can enjoy sheesha, drinks, sports games on large projectors, DJ sets, karaoke and live entertainment by singers, bands and comedians.

The theatre will be open to the general public this Friday for the showing of the Wrath of Titans 3D and tickets will be priced at Sh1,000.

By Charles Gichane