Is A Massive Screen Essential For Movies?

Cinema 5 at Hoyts in Blacktown has what is said to be Australia's largest conventional cinema screen. It's 28.1 metres wide, and needs two digital projectors to fill the screen. That's going to give you an impressively big image, but does that really matter?

Box office revenues appear increasingly dependent on 3D, IMAX and other screen innovations. If we're going to pay $15 or more a head, it seems we want something larger and more OTT than what's in our living rooms.

But I'm wondering: would you go out of your way to ensure your cinema trip involved the largest possible screen? What factors make you want to pay to see a movie? Tell us (and tell us why) in the comments.


    Most of my friends and me will not watch a 3D movie at the cinemas. A big screen is better than 3D but it is the movie that will get us in to the cinemas.

    I drove 4 hours to see the dark knight rises in IMAX, my local cinema's sound cuts out during all action scenes.

    You'd wanna book early so you're not right down the front!

    Big screen depends on the film. Going to see TED, I didn't need a big cinema.

    However things like The Dark Knight Rises ect. I want the best picture experience possible. I know people call it lieMax ect. However my local Hoyts Imax screen is awesome. Hoyts Highpoint Imax. A bunch of their cinema's are crap and need to be updated. However the better ones are good. The Imax is amazing.

    Big screen all the way.

    Sound Sound Sound.
    I saw TDKR in Gold-Class, so, smaller screen, but admitedly you're closer to it. The screen didn't feel as 'immersive' but what made up for that was the general punchiness of the sound.
    I've been in Vmax screens (which are pretty big), and the sound hasn't been enough to reel you in to the film fully.

    What's your field of vision / cone of focus. Is the screen larger than that from where you're sitting?

    If you answered yes, the screen is too big.

    Okay, I need to voice to vent about IMAX.There is something seriously wrong with the IMAX in Sydney. It's TOO BIG. Let me explain. A few months ago, I paid the big bucks to go see Mission Impossible 4 in IMAX. I thought it would be cool to climb the top of the towers in Dubai from the biggest screen in the world. I made sure to book the last row from the back. And I thought I would be fine.
    The worst thing about the Imax, in my most humblest of opinions - is that the bloody screen is too big. It is neck pain inducing big, so big, you wish they had built at least 20 rows higher than the last row.

    The design of the seat rows vs the screen height is completely out of proportion. The last row barely meets up halfway with the screen. Those Imax cinema engineers didn't do their job right. They get know their shit, but they don't know shit about cinema viewing angles.

    Now, if you've ever been to the IMAX in Sydney, you will know that the screen is among the biggest on the planet. It's HULK big. So I was terribly disappointed when I tried to make out what was going on: so much action, so much visual spectacle and my height eye and field of vision were lower than the optimum angle.

    Now imagine being those poor suckers in the middle paying 30 bucks a ticket - it's impossible to enjoy yourself at that height. I started to pine for regular 'stadium seating'. Stadium seating works better because eye height and viewing distances are calculated precisely.

    Now, alas, I won't go back to Sydney Imax again. For the Dark Knight Rises, I went to Extremescreen in Hoyts which uses digital Imax. The screen is obviously half the size and no where near as using a film print, but still kicks ass because you can sit above the screen, so you look into it more like you view a landscape from afar.

    More importantly, Hoyts have their seating tiered with proper viewing angles in mind. VMAX is among the same.

    Angus, it would have been good if you went and reviewed a few of these options, instead of being so brief in your cinematic thought process. Your post is almost like a Facebook post question. Let's see some of your famous reviewing magic. Considering you're based in the Quay, it's not hard to find a bunch of big screens near by and review them independently. For science. And for our benefit.

    IMAX at Darling Harbour can be too big for movies unless you are sitting right at the back. As for cinema preference, I first go sound quality > screen quality > screen size. VMAX at Bondi Junction is pretty good :D

    It's the movie and the company (i.e. friends) that convinces me to pay to see a movie in the cinema. As far as I'm concerned, my screen at home is sufficient for all but the biggest of blockbuster action/adventure films. I've been just as amused, connected, surprised or scared - or even moreso - sitting at home with a comedy, drama or thriller as in the cinema. So I don't care for gigantic screens - so long as the sound is good and the screen is cinema-sized, I'll pay to see Prometheus and Batman.

    I hate IMAX - especially for the visually 'busier' movies (yes I am looking at you Transformers). I have a general rule about watching something on screen, you shouldn't have to turn your head to see anything, meaning you miss nothing, see everything, which is why screens have boarders and you don't stick your head into a fixed 360° viewing unit or virtual reality (and wow, didn't VR just take over the world...).

      The whole point is that there is more happening than you can see, that the screen fills not only your vision but also your peripheral vision. - also, that is not why screens have borders, and whilst very large, they are not large enough for boarders ;)

        @markd - if I was interested in things I couldn't see, I'd be sitting in a strip club with my eyes shut, not sitting in the dark chasing movement all over a massive screen like a demented cat chasing a laser dot.

    I don't get all those haters of IMAX, I saw 300 when it came out at IMAX and loved every second of it! Massive screen and massive sound made it an all round fantastic experience!

    In general though, screen size is dependent on how far back I'm sitting so I'll generally sit closer to a smaller cinema screen. However it is the sound that makes the experience for me, if it's too quiet it feels weak and too loud can be harsh/painful, get it right however and it just puts a nice grin on me face

    I'm happy with convenience. That said though I have to drive an hour to get to anywhere but my local cinema.

    Depends on the movie, but I tend to favour the extreme screen sessions when they're available.

    Big screens don't really work that well at 24 fps projection, but it's probably going to get better.. If a subject moves from one side of the screen to the other it moves with the same frame count as it would on a 32 inch screen but has further to travel. It quite easy to see the flickering or 'jumps' between frames on a massive screen, especially in long pans. Imax is usually screened at 48 fps (or better) to alleviate this. A huge cinema screen can produce some really poor results. Peter Jackson is going to raise a few eyebrows screening the Hobbit at 48 fps, its going to look terrific on a good quality screen and projection. Its likely to be the standard after The Hobbit.

    I agree. Its all relative to how far away you sit, re your cone of vision. Its the same reason why i remain a cheap skate and stick to my 24 inch monitors. I have it reasonably close, but anything bigger and you have to look everywhere moving your head and neck. Same with the massive screens, all it means, is more people can fit in the cinema and pay extra in the meantime :)

    PS 3D is just awful, props to Nolan for disallowing Dark Knight Rises to be shown in 3D. We are at the point now where our brains get too p***ed off trying to decipher the different plains of vision.

    Size needs to be decent, but the biggest one is not what I would be aiming for - I more after the best projection. Clear, bright, high fps and resolution. I hate our local iMAX, sure it's big but it seems to dim at the corners and colours don't seem as vibrant.

    Gold class all the way. IMAX is too big and too packed, anything 3D makes my brain hurt (normal glasses + 3D glasses = the least immersive viewing experience ever).

    Gold class (cheaper on tuesdays for you lifehacker cheapskates!) has booze, food, fully reclining chairs and no teenagers drinking goon and humping eachother.

    Never going to a regular again after a good gold class experience.

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