Why Are IMAX Tickets More Expensive?

We’re used to big screens at showbiz events like London film premieres where the red carpet is rolled out but many cinemas have updated seating, explosive sound and the overall experience has increased along with prices. At first glance, the aspect ratio of a film may not appear to be a major concern. However, it plays a crucial role in shaping the movie-going experience. Aspect ratio refers to the ratio of the width to the height of the image, determining how it fills the screen. Different aspect ratios result in varying visual experiences for the audience. For instance, some classic films aspect ratio, popular in the 1950s and ’60s, offers a wide image that seems thin compared to modern widescreen formats. On the other hand, IMAX films present a larger image, up to 40% bigger than standard formats, providing a more immersive viewing experience by capturing additional information from the movie.

The Immersive Power of IMAX

IMAX screenings offer a truly spectacular visual experience, making viewers feel like they are part of the action. The massive screen and enhanced visuals elevate the sense of immersion, making it a sought-after experience for many moviegoers. However, this premium experience comes at a cost. IMAX tickets are often significantly more expensive than regular tickets, and the price disparity can be even more pronounced in larger cities. For families or groups, the expense of enjoying an IMAX movie can be prohibitive, leading to a decrease in the overall frequency of movie theater visits.

Limited Availability of IMAX Screens

Another challenge facing the widespread adoption of IMAX and other large-format screens is their limited availability. While major cities may have a few IMAX locations, smaller towns and states often lack such premium screening options. This scarcity of high-quality theaters contributes to the declining theatrical experience. Moreover, many existing theaters have not invested in upgrading their facilities, leading to subpar audio, seating, and screen quality. Consequently, some moviegoers opt for the convenience and comfort of home viewing, where they can avoid distractions and enjoy films at their own pace.

The Feasibility of Accessible Theater Formats

Expanding the availability of premium theater formats like IMAX requires addressing both geographical and economic barriers. Creating more screens in various locations would be a monumental undertaking, and the high costs associated with these formats would still make them inaccessible to many individuals and families. As ticket prices for regular screenings are already high, adding concessions and other expenses can further strain the budget of moviegoers. Striking a balance between affordability and premium experiences remains a challenge for the industry.

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Bringing the IMAX Experience Home

Making alternate aspect ratios readily available for home viewing could alleviate some of the issues faced by movie enthusiasts. While some films offer expanded aspect ratios on Blu-ray or streaming services, many others are overlooked, leaving viewers with the standard format. The efforts of streaming platforms, such as Disney+ with its “IMAX Enhanced” experience, are commendable, but more preservation and accessibility initiatives are needed. Properly preserving expanded aspect ratios not only allows a broader audience to enjoy their favorite films in new ways but also safeguards different versions of cinematic masterpieces for future generations.

The Importance of Film Preservation

Film preservation is of paramount importance for the cultural and artistic heritage of humanity. As technology evolves and formats change, it becomes essential to safeguard cinematic works in their original, intended aspect ratios. By doing so, we preserve the creative visions of filmmakers and maintain a diverse range of viewing experiences for audiences worldwide.


In conclusion, aspect ratio significantly influences the movie-watching experience, with formats like IMAX offering unparalleled immersion. However, accessibility and affordability challenges hinder the widespread adoption of premium theater formats. By making expanded aspect ratios available for home viewing and prioritizing film preservation efforts, the film industry can cater to a broader audience while ensuring the longevity of cinematic art. Striking a balance between innovation, accessibility, and affordability is key to shaping the future of movie-going experiences for all audiences.

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Adam Regan
Adam Regan
Deputy Editor

Features and account management. 3 years media experience. Previously covered features for online and print editions.

Email Adam@MarkMeets.com

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