Only a fraction of the movie fans who spent $187.7 million opening weekend to see Avengers: Age of Ultron saw it as it appeared at Airbus IMAX Theater at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia.
The likes of Iron Man, Thor and the Hulk have never been so formidable—or in 3D versions, so bright. The one drawback to 3D has long been that the glasses darkened objects on the screen.
At the same time, the vivid white and colors from the screen are due to the deeper blacks it can also project. To demonstrate the sharpness between the two, Keighley didn’t show a clip from the Avengers hit, but a still black and white checkerboard pattern, whose borders never bled or wavered, yet boasted absolutely sharp lines and corners.
“If you’re a technical geek you should go wow,” he says.
“I never thought we’d get that kind of resolution,” says Keighley, who has been involved in the post production of hundreds of IMAX films and has been the president of IMAX’s post production image and quality control subsidiary DKP 70mm Inc. for more than 40 years.
Keeping the black parts of the film absolutely black means filmmakers can alter at will the dimensions of the film’s border, as director Christopher Nolan did in 2008’s The Dark Knight and last year’s Interstellar. Those are two of the very few Hollywood hits made in 70 millimeter size that can play an IMAX screen. But now that the Udvar-Hazy Center has moved to digital projection, the many more popular Hollywood titles made that way can be shown at night, even as the daytime museum favorites such as Journey to Space, D-Day: Normandy, Living in the Age of Airplanes and Hidden Universe are also further enhanced.