The Dark Knight in 70mm Imax

USA Today had an interesting bit and some official production photos for The Dark Knight. Anyone who’s been reading, knows by now that along with Iron Man, the Chris Nolan directed follow-up to Batman Begins is our most anticipated movie for 2008.

They’ve leaked the scarred image of Heath Ledger has The Joker already. Now there is word that Nolan is directing the four big action sequences in 70mm Imax, including the bank robbery that introduces the world to The Joker.

Seems that Chris Nolan just gets it, ya know? He’s clearly coming from a love of film and a love for his audience.

Shooting on IMAX, Nolan says, will have a twofold effect. The four scenes will fill the IMAX screens, some of which are eight stories high. And in traditional theaters, the scenes will appear more vivid (think high-definition television over standard).

Don’t expect many movies to follow suit. Only 280 IMAX theaters are in operation worldwide, and fewer than 100 show feature films.

And shooting in the format is difficult. IMAX film, which is 10 times the size of standard film stock, is costly and must be shot using bulky cameras.

And “they’re loud,” Nolan says. “We had to figure a way to eliminate the sound so we could shoot dialogue.”

In a rarity for Hollywood, the payoff isn’t primarily financial, so far. “It doesn’t have a huge effect yet on the money you bring in,” says Chris Aronson, a distribution chief with 20th Century Fox, which carried Night at the Museum on IMAX. “But it does help make your movie more of an event.”

For Nolan, IMAX makes the moviegoing experience unique again.

“You can’t do this on any home theater,” Nolan says. “Batman has some of the most extraordinary characters in pop culture. We wanted the Joker to have the grandest entrance possible.

“I figured if you could take an IMAX camera to Mount Everest or outer space, you could use it in a feature movie.”

Nice to see he’s doing something to see if it works and not bowing to the bean counters. Surprised the studio would let him attempt this on such an expensive gamble.

Comments on this entry are closed.