How the 2002 re-release of ‘Apollo 13’ ushered in the IMAX era of blockbusters

Ron Howardspace documentary Apollo 13 Originally released in 1995, it received positive reviews both critically and commercially. The film’s retelling of the 1970 moon mission that went wrong was praised for its heartfelt script, suspenseful pace and stellar performances from an all-star cast. Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, bill paxton, Gary Siniseand Ed Harris. Unless there are some innovative special effects, though, that’s about as much of an impact the film has on the craft of the film as a whole. That said, it wasn’t until its theatrical re-release seven years later that it sparked a growing trend that would eventually engulf nearly every blockbuster released in the 21st century.



September 2002, Apollo 13 Back in the theater, but looking a little different. Some 20 minutes of the run were cut and the widescreen edges were cropped to fit a new innovative format – a bold, majestic projection with an unrivaled resolution hitherto never applied to a feature-length live-action narrative film. That’s IMAX.

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History of IMAX

An astronaut lands on the moon in the IMAX version of Apollo 13.
Image via IMAX

Canadian filmmakers first envisioned IMAX in 1967 at the Montreal Film Expo.director george ferguson showing his short film there polar life, this is a grand experiment. The film, or more precisely, an exhibition of films, puts viewers on a turntable that spins slowly over 18 minutes past 11 separate screens, providing them with an immersive 360-degree film experience.although polar life Undoubtedly a unique demonstration of the power of cinema, it still relies on the multi-screen fad that swept theaters in the 1960s. Ferguson and other Canadian filmmakers wanted to be able to show a giant image through a single projector. So, IMAX was conceived as a concept.

65mm film running horizontally (as opposed to the vertical 35mm standard of most cameras) made Ferguson’s bold cinematic vision a reality, and three years later the first IMAX film premiered in Osaka, Japan.It’s a movie called Tigerproduced by the IMAX co-founders Roman Kreuter. However, due to expensive film inventories and a limited number of theaters lacking proper equipment to show the new format, IMAX was largely limited to documentaries, shorts, and animated films for the next three decades. IMAX did not become a viable commercial format until the advent of Digital Media Remastering (DMR) at the turn of the century, Apollo 13 Leading the way.

One small step for cinema, one giant leap for cinema

Kevin Bacon, Tom Hanks and Bill Paxton play astronauts in 'Apollo 13'
Image via Universal Pictures

Digital media remastering can convert movies shot in traditional 35mm to 65 or 70mm IMAX and still look sharp.While some animated films can have dialogue without the help of a DMR – especially beauty and the Beast After the re-release in January 2002, the reality show required digital support to zoom in on each frame without making the image grainy. Doing this manually would take a lot of time and money. DMR is a relatively inexpensive method of conversion, and the conversion does not need to be shot on IMAX film to be projected in that format. Ultimately, it opened the door to the commercial potential of IMAX.

Apollo 13 It was the first film to have IMAX apply DMR, and the first live-action commercial film to receive the IMAX treatment. The film’s original 2.39:1 aspect ratio was converted to 1.66:1, so the clip above is out of widescreen format. At the same time, the shortened running time fit the limited space of IMAX projectors at the time, but it also served as a means of rewriting the script for the film’s newfound colossal content. According to an IGN review in 2002, these omissions didn’t detract from the film, and actually cut out some of the less spectacular scenes—scenes that wouldn’t have needed to be rewatched on such a large screen.

many critics, including Roger Ebert and typeof Robert KohlerPoint out that the biggest improvement from IMAX re-screening is not visual, but aural. In addition to doubling the image size, IMAX also doubles the audio, bringing audiences thunderous new aural energy. Apollo 13Academy Award Winning Sound Design. Overall, the DMR switch was successful, critics raved about the re-release, and the film grossed an additional $2 million: an impressive figure considering the re-release only opened in 19 theaters.

but why isFirst IMAX re-screening of ‘Apollo 13’?

Bill Paxton, Kevin Bacon and Tom Hanks aboard the Apollo 13 spacecraft
Image via Universal Pictures

Later that year, Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones became the second live-action film to be converted to IMAX, the following year, this matrix: revolution was the first film to be released in both standard and IMAX versions on the same day. This became a growing and eventually standard trend for blockbusters, especially those with visual perfection.Today, nearly every luxury action movie is shot in IMAX or released at the same time, which begs the question: why Apollo 13 is the preferred format for DMRs.

although Apollo 13 It’s really good-looking, but the visual effect is still lost to those people babe at the 68th Annual Academy Awards. Ron Howard’s movie is neither an action nor a visual feast, but a historical drama that happens to (mostly) take place in outer space. So why does IMAX think this is a movie that will push itself into the mainstream movie market?

To understand this decision, we must remember IMAX’s place in the film industry for more than 30 years before the new millennium. This format is mostly used for documentaries, especially nature documentaries shown in museums rather than regular theaters. In other words, IMAX is seen as a vehicle for educational films, and educational centers are often the only venues equipped to show IMAX films.

Apollo 13 Thus splitting the past and future of IMAX. It’s a movie that has show value in an educational setting and appeals to IMAX’s traditional audience. At the same time, it’s a big-budget hit from Universal that the average moviegoer has a vested interest in, and may be eager to revisit on the big screen.As Co-CEO of IMAX Bradley Wexler “This is the genre that not only plays fantastically in the best IMAX commercial theaters around the world, but also in the best museums and science centers where many of our theaters are located,” told AnimationWorld.com in 2002.

in short, Apollo 13 This is the rare movie that does it all: entertains, inspires, educates and, perhaps most importantly for IMAX, introduces advanced cinema technology to the mainstream film industry.So when we’re ready to watch Mission impossible, Indiana Jones and the Wheel of Fortune, Oppenheimer, venice hunt, hunter kraven, Dune: Part Two, Miracle, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdomor any other blockbuster coming to IMAX this year, we shouldn’t ignore the big screen’s Apollo 13.

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