I guess this was one of the last film theaters that Imax sold. The story, which you can find on Google, describes it as an upgrade. Yes the theater will getter better sound and seating. But it is being done because a film copy of an Imax movie is 100 times more expensive than digital. The 1570's are still showing Jack the Giant Slayer, which is doing next to no business and they are going to show it next week too. Imax has to get totally out of film by the end of this year even if it involves masking the screen. Tell people what you are doing. If they are unhappy with the size of the screen give them their money back even if they have seen the whole movie.
I was disappointed that it was closed last weekend. I think the motivation in AC may be partly that they can do live events with digital. A casino gives a lot of opportunities to fill an auditorium ONCE, at a premium price, without disrupting regular business.
With Laser on the doorstep, Ritz, I don't think panic is necessary or warranted. I believe "Masking" is the last thing IMAX should be doing. Q2 has a very strong slate. I imagine the average 1570 has only 5-10 flicks a year; Atlantic City, probably more. The 1570s may have 2 or even 3 films in Q2. Do all you can to fill those seats. I would just offer everyone 50% off on the next movie on that screen outside of the first 2 weeks of screening. Keep them coming back on the 1570's. Fill seats. Sell them $5 popcorn that coss $0.10 to produce.
That's a good bandaid solution.... diluting the brand quality and/or equity (via "masking") is not. That's my take, Ritz.
I think these laser projectors are going to go like hotcakes. The only ones not buying might be the old-school museums that just don't have a) the budget or b) the werewithal to do so.