Screen: It’s about as large a screen as you can jam in a multiplex theater that wasn’t constructed to house a ‘regular’ IMAX (what you’d see down at the Smithsonian). I can’t say what the exact measurements are, but the height is pretty much floor to ceiling. There are fewer seats than in the Majestic’s other large theaters, as presumably many were removed to accommodate the larger screen.
Picture: IMAX’s digital projection system definitely has brighter and richer colors than what you would see on the Majestic’s standard screens, though if you aren’t picky about this sort of thing, you may not notice the difference. The resolution is definitely nowhere close to that of the original IMAX film format, but it’s still an upgrade.
Sound: It’s loud. Very loud. You won’t have to worry about people chatting on their mobile phones because there’s no way they could carry on a conversation. For me, the enhanced sound is IMAX’s biggest draw. Along with being louder, it’s noticeably clearer. I have had serious issues in the past at the Majestic when a theater’s sound was so poor I could barely hear the dialogue. This won’t be ever be a concern in the IMAX theater.
Price: I realize capital improvements were required to install the system, and that the theater needs to recoup those costs, but the ticket prices seem particularly sleep. The tickets for IMAX movies at the Majestic are $17.50 each for adults, compared to $11 for films on standard screens. This $6.50 premium is notably higher than what other theaters in the region charge for IMAX films. For example, the IMAX theaters in Tyson’s Corner and Columbia only charge an additional $5. This seems to be the usual surcharge nationwide. Why are we getting gouged so badly, Majestic? (Though this seems to be the same premium Regal Cinemas charges at its other IMAX theaters.)
Unlike standard movies, there is no matinee price offered for IMAX shows. A 9AM ticket will cost you the same as one for a 9PM showing. Granted, going to a matinee usually only saves you a couple bucks, but hey, it’s something. It should also be noted that the Tyson’s Corner IMAX does have matinee prices.
The “convenience fee” for purchasing IMAX tickets online is $2 per ticket. I can accept the normal $1.25 convenience fee at the Majestic, as it allows me to print my ticket at home and bypass the snaking weekend lines, but there’s absolutely no justifiable reason why this fee should be 60% higher for an IMAX movie.
So before any soda and popcorn purchased, it will cost a minimum of $35 for two people to go an IMAX show, $39 if you buy the tickets in advance.
So, is it worth it? I suppose that depends on the circumstances. If you’re very particular about picture and sound quality, the extra $6.50 might be justified. Maybe you don’t go to the pictures that often, so you can rationalize the extra expense once in a while. Or perhaps you are just rich as hell and don’t give a damn. I think for the select big movies, I’d consider coughing up the extra dough, though for most films I’ll probably stick to the standard screens. Since there’s only one screen, who knows how often it will have the movie I want to see, anyway.