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After closing in March 2020 in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Airbus IMAX Theater will reopen July 28 at the Smithsonian’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia. The Airbus IMAX Theater houses the biggest IMAX screen in Northern Virginia. It is among the first in the world to feature the latest IMAX laser-projection system—the dual 4K-laser projection system, with a 12-discrete-channel sound system, provides audiences with the sharpest, brightest, clearest and most vivid digital images combined with a whole new level of immersive audio.
The Airbus IMAX Theater will put the safety and comfort of customers first by using Cinema Safe protocols, including the social distancing of guests in line and while seated, frequent sanitizing of high-touch surfaces, adding hand-sanitizing stations, daily staff health screenings and requiring face coverings for guests who are not fully vaccinated, in accordance to current museum protocols.
Concessions will be available for purchase, including sodas, candy, craft beer, wine and the movie staple—popcorn.
The IMAX documentary classics Blue Planet, The Dream Is Alive and To Fly! will be shown Wednesday through Sunday during the museum’s operating hours. In the fall, Sci-Fi Sundays will also return, featuring fan-favorites like Interstellar, Star Trek films and 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Blue Planet is a space film about Earth. From the orbit of the U.S. space shuttle, where the curvature of the globe and the shape of its continents stand out sharply, Earth is revealed as a place of constant, even violent change. It is also delicate and fragile, unique in the solar system and possibly the entire universe. How did Earth begin? How is it changing, and what is mankind’s role in these changes? Blue Planet investigates these questions with footage taken on the ocean floor, on the ground and in space as well as state-of-the-art computer animation and new data from satellites in geosynchronous orbit.
The Dream Is Alive gives the viewer an unprecedented window seat on board the space shuttle. Shot by 14 NASA astronauts on three shuttle missions in 1984, the film includes footage of launches and landings, satellite capture and repairs, space walks and an inside look at the astronauts living in space. The audience will experience the sensation of weightlessness and the splendor of Earth from 250 miles up.
A stunning overview of transportation and flight in America, To Fly! presents an emotional and visual experience as audiences float over the Vermont countryside and Niagara Falls in a balloon, thrill to the spirit of flying from wild barnstorming to the precision of the Blue Angels and explore the beauties of flight with a cross-country cruise, hang-gliding in Hawaii and a rocket lift-off. It is produced and distributed by MacGillivray Freeman Films, produced and directed by Greg MacGillivray and Jim Freeman for Francis Thompson Inc. and the National Air and Space Museum, Washington, D.C. It is a Francis Thompson Inc. production, sponsored by Conoco Inc., a Dupont Company.
Tickets are available at the Airbus IMAX Theater box office and online at www.si.edu/theaters. The Airbus IMAX Theater is in the National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center located at 14390 Air and Space Museum Parkway, Chantilly, Virginia.
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Elyse R. Smith