Thursday, 18 November 2021

Belfast IMAX

A giant of the cinema world arrived in Northern Ireland in 2001, and opened its doors on the banks of the River Lagan, at Queen's Quay.

The £1.5 million (equivalent to about £2.5 million in 2021) IMAX screen at Belfast's Odyssey Pavilion was higher than four double-decker buses.

Its projector was the size of a small car.

It was the biggest cinema screen in the Province.

A local entrepreneur, Peter Curistan, who brought the large screen to Northern Ireland, said at the time:
"The experience is immersive and you do really feel that you are part of the action. I'm very proud to bring it to Odyssey. 
I'm very proud to bring it to Northern Ireland and I think we really have something of truly European standard."
The first film to be shown at the IMAX was Everest.

The chief projectionist at the centre stated that the staff had to undergo weeks of training to get to grips with the new technology:
"It's very, very hi tech actually. We would have three computers to manage the system. 
The soundtrack is put onto disc into a hard drive, so you have to synchronise the film with the soundtrack which is very, very important. 
It's a totally different concept to what normal film would use."
The Belfast IMAX unfortunately closed down in September, 2007.

Mr Curistan was declared bankrupt in 2013.

I enjoyed the experience and went to quite a few movies there.

I was sorry about its demise.

It is wonderful, however, to hear that Cineworld, based in London, and currently the world's second-largest cinema chain, is to open a brand new thirteen-screen cinema complex at Belfast's Odyssey Pavilion.

The new screens will include an IMAX Laser auditorium, a multi-sensory 4DX extreme cinema experience, and Screen X, a 270-degree wrap-around screen which is the first of its kind in Northern Ireland.

The new cinema is expected to open on the 10th December, 2021.

First published in April, 2014; revised November, 2021.


Ciaran said...

I too would love to see the old IMAX screen brought to life again, especially as there are now more films than ever being shot using the IMAX cameras.

Also, the whole island of Ireland doesn't have one so surely that could be another way to attract tourism to our city!

Anonymous said...

Dublin has one....