Last week’s closure of Sydney’s popular Darling Harbour IMAX has left a giant eight storey high hole in the city’s film landscape. Although originally the home of short documentaries synonymous with school excursions, in recent years the massive screen (the worlds largest in fact) became the ultimate destination to see the latest big budget blockbusters on an epic scale.
In a run of final sessions, IMAX paid tribute to some of their most popular films, the last of which featured a video farewell from Christopher Nolan for their last showing of The Dark Knight, the first feature film to make use of the large film format. Although the cinema will eventually re-open (albeit on a smaller scale), Sydney’s cinema-goers will miss out on some massive IMAX releases during the intervening years. So here’s just a few of the highlights which, if for no other reason than to give you a heads up about when to plan an interstate trip to visit one of the country’s other screens (and no, we’re not counting the ‘lie-Max’ offering from Hoyts!).
Voyage of Time: The IMAX Experience
Release Date: October 7, 2016
Forty years in the making, Terrence Malick’s time traversing odyssey through the cosmos is tailor made for the expanses of the IMAX screen. Malick is known for his ponderous films musing about the meaning of universe and our place in it, but this looks to ditch the usual pretentiousness and place the visuals front and centre. We’ll have to make do with the regular 35mm counterpart, which is getting a general release and features narration from Cate Blanchett instead of Brad Pitt. It’d be a much funnier twist of fate if it was actually Angelina Jolie.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Release Date: December 16, 2016
Gareth Edward’s film was shot using a new digital 70mm format, the first ever Star Wars film to do so. Whilst we’ll no longer get a chance to see the Death Star in all its IMAX glory, there are many other screens capable of projecting the giant format, albeit in less jaw dropping fashion.
Release Date: July 21, 2017
Christopher Nolan is no stranger to the IMAX format, he’s basically become the poster boy for the company after utilizing the technology to ever greater effect in his big budget films. With Dunkirk he hopes to push the technology to new heights, giving us a glimpse of World War II like we’ve never seen it before. Like Interstellar before it, much of the majesty will be lost in regular theatres, which is a shame when film events such as these are one of the few reasons for people to still venture out to the cinema.
Star Wars: Episode VIII
Release Date: December 15, 2017
Rian Johnson’s eagerly awaited Star Wars sequel will once again send IMAX cameras to a galaxy far, far away, after The Force Awakens did so for one of its key sequences. Johnson may be new to the world of big budget filmmaking, but he’s also one of the biggest film geeks out there, so don’t be surprised if he employs the format on a much grander scale than old mate J.J.
Avengers: Infinity War 1 & 2
Release Date: May 4, 2018 and May, 2019
Probably the biggest single release occurring during the Darling Harbour screen’s hiatus, both parts of The Russo Brothers Avengers epic will be the first ever to be shot entirely with IMAX cameras. With this year’s Civil War featuring several sequences filmed using the lightweight Arri IMAX camera, its clear the brothers are fans of the format, and the decision marks a serious push by Marvel and Disney to push the format across their sizeable future release slate.
Release Date: December, 2018
Although not technically an IMAX film, the first Avatar was greatly enhanced by the large format, allowing the audience to further immerse themselves in the detailed world James Cameron created. Although the series popularity has declined in recent years, we can only assume Cameron has enough tools and tricks up his sleeve for the second instalment (and third, and fourth for that matter) to see him crowned king of the box office yet again.