from ultra avx to ultrascreen dlx to imax to dolby cinema to cinemark xd strong> to rpx to 4dx, it can be confusing trying to buy a movie ticket these days!
Because the movie industry employs some of the best advertisers on the planet, marketing “premium movie experiences” always sounds like a life changer.
from the “multi-sensory signature effects” of 4dx, to the “revolutionary immersive format” of screenx, to the “extreme standards for creating a total impression” in imax, movie theater chains are not afraid to show off their products.
but the terminology gets confusing and viewers never get to see the specs of these “premium” theaters. every theater claims to have the best screens, the most immersive audio, and the most comfortable recliners, but how do you really measure all of this?
Fortunately, there is decent information available online about the giant movie theater brands like amc, cinemark and regal. Unfortunately, smaller chains like cineplex aren’t discussed as much, so it’s hard to get solid information on cineplex ultra avx.
here, we will answer the ever important question, “is ultra avx worth the money?”
Cineplex is something of an unknown here in the US, but it’s actually one of the top 5 movie theater chains (by theater count) in North America.
the toronto-based company offers a number of premium experiences like imax, 4dx and screenx that can be found at other theater chains. however, cineplex also offers ultra avx (sometimes stylized as ultraavx), which is a premium wide-format experience exclusive to cineplex.
ultra avx is just the cineplex brand name for a theater with enhanced sound, comfortable reclining seats and a large screen. this service is similar to cinemark xd >, regal rpx and marcus theaters ultrascreen dlx.
For the upgraded features (better screen, seats, and sound), you pay a few dollars more compared to a standard ticket.
ultra avx vs. imax
comparing anything to imax is challenging because there are 2 different types of imax theater: “true” 70mm projectors (which are rare) and “fake” digital imax theaters (which are everywhere).
If you’re within driving distance of a real imax theater that uses 70mm projectors, this is probably the best movie experience available. but if your only local “imax” is a digital imax (also known as a “lie-max”), then the competition between ultra avx and imax is that much tighter.
generally speaking, ultra avx is quite similar to a digital imax. ultra avx has an oversized screen that will be larger than a standard cineplex movie screen. some, but not all, ultra avx theaters have dolby atmos, so sound quality will be high in these theaters.
imax has the characteristic imax aspect ratio, while ultra avx has the same aspect ratio as a standard cinema (same as cinemark xd, regal rpx, marcus ultrascreen dlx, etc.). Ultimately, you should choose between Ultra AVX and IMAX Digital based on the convenience of the theater location and the comfort of the seats.
my personal opinion is that an ultra avx with dolby atmos provides a better movie experience than a digital imax. in general, recliners will be more comfortable in an ultra avx cineplex. and audio on an ultra avx with dolby atmos will sound better than on a digital imax, regardless of what the imax marketing says.
Because screen sizes are not uniform, there is no way of knowing which screen will be larger. so you’ll have to watch a movie at both theaters to find out.
ultra avx vs. cinemark xd
cinemark xd sounds more impressive, with its 70-foot screens and 11.1-channel surround sound system.
However, the 70 foot screen refers to the diagonal measurement of the screen, rather than a screen that is actually 70 feet long. And the 11.1-channel surround sound system (despite its THX certification) can’t really compete with the Dolby Atmos found in many Ultra AVX theaters.
both cinemark xd and ultra avx have comfortable reclining seats.
it’s not possible to say definitively which cinemark xd or ultra avx is “better” than the other. fortunately, since most locations won’t have access to both (since cinemark is a vendor American). -based and cineplex is based in canada), you really should never have to decide.
ultra avx vs. rpx
regal rpx generally costs more than a ticket to an ultra avx theater. and the features between each of these premium offerings are quite similar.
it is not possible to say definitively which cinemark xd or ultra avx is “better” than the other. fortunately, since most locations will not have access to both , you really should never have to decide.
a note on “premium” theaters in general
In a discussion of ultra avx, ultrascreen dlx, imax, rpx, 4dx, d-box, or dolby cinema, there’s one thing you need to know: “premium theater” advertising tactics are essentially the wild west.
Premium movie experiences are not like Nutrition Facts labels, which have a regulatory body that monitors and verifies their claims. instead, each theater chain can make any claim it wishes without fear of being discredited or refuted.
In general, theaters are factually correct in their claims. For example, when Cinemark XD claims to support 11.1 surround sound, it is true that your sound system has 11 channels.
However, theaters also tend to be misleading in terms of whether or not their sophisticated technologies provide any benefit to viewers.
for example, xd’s 11.1 surround sound compatible speakers don’t really deliver the desired 11 channel experience unless you’re watching one of the very, very few movies that were mixed in the 11.1 auro format.
then cinemark won’t tell you that their 11.1 auro sounds worse than 7.1 dolby atmos, they’ll just market the fact that “11 is more than 7, so it must be better.”
imax has drawn criticism from purists for its “lie-max” theatrics. these theaters are basically a digital version of lower quality and/or smaller screen film rather than the 70mm film on massive screens that made imax theaters the gold standard over a decade ago. imax basically established itself as the best and then downgraded most of its theaters without telling anyone.
Beyond all of this, movie theaters are now using 2k projectors, 4k projectors, 70mm projectors, or dual projectors (two 2k projectors equals “4k” in advertising!) without explicitly telling moviegoers viewers what technology they are watching.
All of this is to say that unless you really dive deep into the details of your nearby movie theater, you won’t know exactly what you’re seeing. some viewers even resort to calling the theater and asking for visual and audio details.
A better option is to open your eyes and ears and decide whether or not the audio and image meet your standards. if not, try another theater next time!
cineplex theaters claims vs. reality
Any “premium” theater experience (sometimes called premium large format or plf) comes down to the seats, the screen and the audio.
let’s see how cineplex ultra avx compares.
This is a subjective issue. a leather seat that’s comfortable for a movie buff can be so awful that it causes someone else to leave a bad review.
cineplex advertises “reserved seating in larger rocking chairs.” Most users will agree that the seats are large, comfortable, and have a good range of motion in the recliner. legroom is also more spacious than in a typical theater.
We also give cineplex credit for a quality online ordering system. Each auditorium has a seating map displayed while you order a ticket, allowing you to choose your seats wisely. it also shows you the number of seats available, the location of aisles and handicap seats, and the location and availability of d-box seats.
Like many theater chains’ “best home theater” offering (cinemark xd, regal rpx, etc.), there’s not much uniformity in screen size.
cineplex advertises a “huge” screen, but “huge” doesn’t exactly translate to a screen size specification. as mentioned above, the screen is simply “the biggest screen in the house”, rather than a fixed size.
Projectors are crisp and clear, but again there is some variation depending on the theater, projector, and bulbs. On average, an Ultra AVX projector will look just as good as an RPX, XD, or Digital IMAX projector. however, there are still some good displays and some bad ones, and you won’t be able to tell which is which until you see it in person.
in ultra avx theaters that have dolby atmos, the sound quality is excellent. this is almost a guarantee.
In the other ultra avx theaters, which don’t have dolby atmos, the sound quality is mixed. You don’t really know the audio specs in non-atmospheric theaters, so it can still vary from place to place.
obviously, if you have the choice, you should choose an ultra avx theater with dolby atmos instead of one without. And luckily, Cineplex has a good website and online ordering process, so you’ll be able to easily tell if your chosen time slot has atmos or not.
frequently asked questions
how big is an ultra avx screen?
This question cannot be definitively answered. ultra avx has a “massive” screen (according to cineplex), but dimensions are not given.
the screens are oversized and will be larger than a standard cineplex theater. but there is no way to be sure of the exact screen size of a particular theater.
what is the best seat in an ultra avx cinema?
The best seat is the one closest to the center of the theater (check out our detailed guide to choosing a seat here).
You want to be in the middle of the theater from a right-to-left perspective (in other words, as far from the aisle as possible). and you also want to be centered from a front-to-back perspective (in other words, neither the first row nor the last row).
It is important that you avoid the first two rows closest to the screen. these are uncomfortable seats in any theater, but especially in a theater with a large screen.
It’s better to sit in the far back row than in the far front row, but neither is ideal. if you sit too close to the rear of the theater, the screen will appear smaller, the rear speakers will dominate, and you will lose the “immersive” theater experience. it will also be a waste of the couple of extra bucks you spent to see the movie on a big screen.
If there aren’t many seats left when you book and you get stuck in a corner, aim for one of the back corners instead of a front corner. a seat in the front corner is incredibly unpleasant. before reserving a seat in the front corner (or anywhere in the first row), I would simply buy a ticket to a different night or to a different theater.
so is ultra avx worth it?
For action movies and movies that rely heavily on sound and visual effects, the extra expense for ultra avx is well worth it.
for sitcoms and movies you’re only watching because you couldn’t think of any other date night itineraries, I’d probably save the money and buy a standard ticket instead.
ultra avx, like all “premium cinematic experiences”, is more marketing than actual substance.
However, many moviegoers find that the premium theater is worth it for the bigger screen and more comfortable chairs alone.
when you add the dolby atmos sound that is present in many ultra avx theaters, it might be worth choosing ultra avx, regardless of whether or not you believe the hype about how many billions of different colors you can see on screen” massive.”