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Dark Knight the 'game changer' for Imax cinema

Director Christopher Nolan's decision to film part of The Dark Knight Rises in the Imax is "game-changer" for the industry, according to the manager of one of the Middle East's few super-sized cinema screens.

The decision by director Christopher Nolan to film part of The Dark Knight Rises in Imax format is good news for the owners of the Middle East's few super-sized screens.

The latest Batman movie is the first commercial film to be shown at the Imax theatre at the Meydan Racecourse in Dubai, where the screen is 29 metres wide by 22 metres high.

Goulam Raza Amarsy, the chief executive of the Meydan Imax theatre, said Nolan's movie would be a "game-changer" for the big-screen format in the Emirates.

There are just a handful of Imax screens in the Middle East, including at Meydan and Ibn Battuta Mall in Dubai, as well as in Kuwait, Qatar and Cairo.

Mr Amarsy says several new Imax blockbusters are in the pipeline. Here he explains the appeal of the big-screen format and how it has grabbed the public's imagination.

How important is The Dark Knight Rises for your business when it comes to box-office takings?

This is a game-changer in the Imax industry. After this film, other directors started to use the Imax cameras extensively. Star Trek 2 will be filmed in Imax, as well as The Hobbit and the new James Bond movie. And so it has become a trend now in Hollywood.

What is the appeal of watching the new Batman film on Imax compared to viewing it at a standard cinema?

The director [Nolan] used the Imax camera extensively: 72 minutes of the film were captured in Imax. When you see it in full Imax It's fabulous. You're totally immersed in the film.

Tell us about your cinema in Dubai.

This is the largest Imax theatre in the region. We have 560 seats, the screen is seven storeys tall, or the equivalent of 43,000 iPad screens put together. The projector itself is the size of a car.

After Batman, what other commercial films will you be showing in the months ahead?

We only have one screen, so we want to show big films. We will also show some non-film events. We will be showing the Metropolitan Opera live, in HD, from New York. We'll do some sports events also - we're talking cricket, football. It has to be a big event.

What are the wider box-office trends in the UAE and what does the future hold?

It is growing, big time. There are more theatres opening up in the UAE, more movies being made in this region. And that is a good trend.

bflanagan@thenational.ae

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