Movie theaters are always looking for an excuse to add a surcharge to the price of a regular movie ticket. When James Cameron’s “Avatar” hit theaters, theater chains scrambled to install 3D projectors in their auditoriums. The 3D gimmick allowed theaters to add a few extra bucks to the price of admission, and for several years, Hollywood churned out one cheap 3D movie after another. Thankfully, the 3D craze is finally starting to fade, but theater chains have already started pushing the next movie gimmick.
enter the off-brand imax experience.
Certain movie theater chains, such as Cinemark and Regal, have begun setting up their own large-format theaters in an attempt to attract more crowds. now columbia has one at the regal stadium 14 theater, and it’s called the rpx (regal premium experience) auditorium.
so is the “premium experience” just the next iteration of the 3d gimmick? well yes and no.
over the weekend, i was able to see a screening of “dracula untold” at the rpx theater. right off the bat (pun intended), I can tell you that the screen is big. in fact, the new display is a cool floor-to-ceiling display that honestly looks pretty impressive. it’s a shame most movies shown in rpx probably won’t be shot in imax’s standard 70mm film format, so the black bars at the top and bottom of the screen make it seem unnecessary to have such a big screen. after about an hour into the movie, he had forgotten that the screen actually stretched from floor to ceiling. the screen sounds amazing on paper, but without the proper media format, the rpx theater looks like a regular movie screen, albeit a bit wider.
however, the audio quality of the rpx theater is something to behold. the rpx theater is certainly louder than your average theater auditorium, but the volume isn’t what sold me. the clarity of the sound effects was excellent and really helped immerse me in the movie. The battle scenes of “Dracula Untold” were enhanced by the brutal audio design of clanging swords and bodies being thrown across the battlefield, and it was gratifying to hear that full audio design. i would love to see a horror movie in the rpx theater, although i would love it even more if a studio decided to shoot a horror movie in 70mm.
so, what else is there to differentiate the rpx cinema from the rest of the cinema screens in colombia? not much really. the seats are leather and have extra padding, and you can raise the armrests if you wish. The entrance has neat blue lighting and an RPX logo, but neither of these things are really that crucial to the cinematic experience. It’s nice to see Regal trying to make the movie-going experience more comfortable, but paying a premium to sit in a slightly more comfortable seat isn’t something I’d normally do.
Regarding the surcharge, I was surprised at how high the price was for all of this. it’s an extra five bucks for the rpx ticket and to be completely honest I don’t think it’s worth the extra charge. I mean, I don’t think it’s worth the extra money to watch a standard format movie in the rpx theater. there will surely be more movies shot in imax, like christopher nolan’s “interstellar” and the next installment of “the hunger games”, and when they are released, you can bet i’ll see them in the rpx theater, but for now. being, I doubt I’ll watch many movies at the rpx theater. still, i would definitely recommend trying to catch a morning show at the rpx theater just to experience it for yourself.