Ocala IMAX opens Friday

This film image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows a scene from "Gravity." The movie will the be first in Ocala's new IMAX theater.

AP/Warner Bros. Pictures
Published: Thursday, October 3, 2013 at 12:25 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, October 3, 2013 at 4:55 p.m.

OCALA - Sooner than originally anticipated, Ocala enters the IMAX age this week at the Regal Cinemas Hollywood 16 complex on Southwest 19th Avenue Road.


True IMAX?

Sun movie blogger Rob Ryan proposes that the new Ocala IMAX may be misleading.

The converted auditorium opens today with a 12:45 p.m. IMAX 3-D showing of the Sandra Bullock and George Clooney space thriller “Gravity 3-D,” according to Regal and the ticketing website fandango.com.

Later showings are at 3:10, 5:30, 7:50 and 10:10 p.m. The cost listed on the website is $16 for adults, $13 for children.

“Regal is proud to open the Ocala IMAX with this highly anticipated science-fiction thriller 'Gravity 3-D,'” noted Regal marketing Vice President Russ Nunley in an emailed press release. “We are excited to provide this film in the impressive IMAX Experience as it will be sure to pull moviegoers in and not let them go for 90 minutes.”

Other films coming out later this year and planned for IMAX showings in Ocala are “Captain Phillips,” “Ender's Game,” “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” and “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” added Christine White, the chain's southern region marketing manager.

The conversion of one Hollywood 16 auditorium to an IMAX digital projection system was confirmed early in September by Richard Grover, the director of marketing and communications for Regal in Knoxville, Tenn. At the time, he said it would be completed “in the fourth quarter,” leading to speculation the conversion wouldn't be done until later in October or even November.

“Ocala was selected because it is an extremely popular location and has been for years,” he wrote in a follow-up email. “The theater draws moviegoers from across the region and the new state-of-the-art IMAX screen will further enhance the entertainment choices in Ocala.”

The auditorium in the western wing of the theater now features a floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall screen, a new laser-aligned digital sound system and new body-hugging rocking chairs in a steep stadium arrangement. As in other conversions of this sort, the screen has been moved closer to the seats.

Ocala joins a growing list of Regal complexes receiving the upgrade, according to various trade publications. Last month, Regal listed 76 of its theater complexes containing an IMAX theater. Overall, Regal boasts 7,334 screens in 575 theaters in 42 states, the District of Colombia, Guam, Saipan and American Somoa. Regal did not say how many of these theaters are scheduled for a similar conversion.

The IMAX digital system being installed in Ocala has been crafted to “showcase Hollywood blockbusters,” Grover wrote in his email. “Films are projected on a specially designed screen that is slightly curved and moved forward to further immerse the audience.”

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