the biggest gets better

by Kellie Abrahamson
If you’ve got a hankering to catch a movie at the World Golf Hall of Fame IMAX Theater this month you’re out of luck for a while, but for good reason: the facility is undergoing a major renovation that will transform our typical night at the movies into an experience for the senses. Have no fear; the theater will reopen, shiny, new and better than ever, by late January.
The 300-seat IMAX Theater at the World Golf Village opened in 1998 and has since become one of the most popular attractions in the complex. The current renovations will give the theater the most cutting-edge projection equipment available, making it the fifth institutional theater converted to IMAX digital 3D.
The biggest change will be the switch to the digital production technology, which is powered by dual digital projectors with a proprietary image enhancer that allows for more light on the screen than any other 2D or 3D systems in existence. In other words, we’ll get increased brightness and contrast and, for the first time, we’ll be able to see digital 3D flicks on the super-sized screen. To go along with a better picture, we’ll also get better sound. IMAX’s laser-aligned digital sound system will make it so that every seat has an optimum auditory experience.
In addition to the changes in the projection room, visitors will also notice some upgrades to the rest of the house as well. The lobby is getting a bit of a face-lift, but you’ll notice an even bigger change once you enter the actual auditorium. The massive screen IMAX is famous for will be nearly as wide but the image will be letterboxed like Hollywood films that have already been shown like the latest Harry Potter. Bonus: this means we’ll be able to continue to boast about having the largest screen in Northeast Florida. Size does matter, people!
When the theater first opened, all of the films shown were of the educational variety, making it a favorite of area field trip groups. In 2001 full-length features finally made an appearance on the big, big screen to the delight of area movie lovers. Because of the upgraded equipment, there’s a good chance we’ll be seeing even more blockbusters at the IMAX in 2011.
“The difference between our schedule [now] as opposed to in the past we’ll be able to switch movies out a lot faster because they’re digital, so we’re going to be getting a lot more Hollywood-type movies,” facility representative Travis Hill explained during a recent interview with EU. “So instead of just having five or six big Hollywood blockbusters a year we’re going to be having a lot more.”
Naturally, the World Golf Hall of Fame IMAX Theater will continue to show traditional educational films and will re-open at the end of January with Hubble 3D, Under the Sea 3D and Ultimate Wave Tahiti 3D and will release Born to Be Wild 3D on April 8. IMAX Hollywood digital releases shown in this year may include Mars Needs Moms (March 11), Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (May 20), Cars 2 (June 24), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (July 15) and Happy Feet 2 (November 18), with more to be announced soon.
Though our movie experience will be upgraded, the price of admission will remain the same: $13 for adults, $12 for seniors over 55, students and military with ID and $10 for children between the ages of three and 12 for full-length Hollywood films; $8.50 for adults, $7.50 for seniors, students and military with ID and $6 for children for 45-minute documentaries. You can also opt to become an Annual Passholder and get priority seating, invitations to special events, advance ticket sales opportunities and much, much more. Visit or call 940-4133 for all the details.