Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 20 May 2019

Imax brings its Private Theatre line to the UAE

The floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall, curved Imax screen is complemented by dual 4k projectors. These use passive 3-D; removing the flicker and lowering the strain caused by active 3-D.
The theatres range in size from 20 square metres to 150 square metres. Courtesy Imax
The theatres range in size from 20 square metres to 150 square metres. Courtesy Imax

If you’ve ever dreamed of owning your own private cinema, you will be happy to hear that Imax Corporation has launched its Private Theatre line in the region.

“It’s really difficult to get the right terminology,” says David Hanson, general manager of Imax Home Entertainment Mena. “We use ‘private theatre’, to try to create the fact that it is a scaled-down version of what you would get when you go to one of our commercial theatres. When we say private theatre, it’s not a screen, which you put in the corner of a room; this is a dedicated room that is soundproofed [and] lightproofed.”

The theatres range in size from 20 square metres to 150 square metres – depending on customers’ needs. “Some of them have a lobby area where you walk in, and there’s seating and a popcorn machine, and a screen that tells you what’s going to be on.”

While the home-cinema concept is nothing new in itself, it is one that has not yet reached its natural conclusion, according to Hanson. “Let’s say I’ve spent my whole life buying Mercedes-AMG cars, because I like the experience and I like the styling, and I know what I’m getting from that – we’ve never really had that in private theatre.”

The floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall, curved Imax screen is complemented by dual 4k projectors. These use passive 3-D; removing the flicker and lowering the strain caused by active 3-D.

Users can plug in HD and UHD devices, whether that’s satellite television or video-game consoles, or access an integrated Blu-ray player and media server.

Imax Private Theatre, a joint venture between Imax and TCL, began building scalable private theatres in China last year, and the Middle East is its second market – with Dubai serving as its local headquarters.

“I have a remit for Europe as well, and we’re a little bit ahead of Europe here. When you look at the American Express wealth report and see the numbers for Qatar, Saudi Arabia or the UAE, there is wealth here, but what I think is more interesting when you look at our product, is how people value privacy, family, home time – investing in their home.”

Imax Private Theatre comes in three ranges: the 20- to 40-square-metre Prestige, the 45- to 70-square-metre Palais and the 80- to 150-square-metre Platinum. The core product, Palais, is available in five sizes, ranging from five seats to just over 20.

While a top-of-the-line Platinum theatre could set you back more than US$1 million (Dh3.6m), one does not need to be a millionaire to own a private theatre, says Hanson. Prices start at $150,000 (Dh551,000) for a Prestige.

It is possible to retroactively fit theatres into existing builds, or custom-design spaces for new builds – with the company even working on a yacht installation.

The company hopes to open its Dubai showroom by the end of the year, adding to the two it has in China.

The ever-growing prominence of commercial Imax theatres in venues such as Mall of the Emirates, The Pearl in Qatar and Kuwait’s Cinescape 360 has helped, Hanson notes. “If I want to take someone and show them what Imax is about, I can take them there.”

Read this and more stories in Luxury magazine, out with The National on Thursday, October 6.

halbustani@thenational.ae

Updated: October 3, 2016 04:00 AM

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