Smithsonian Launches IMAX's New Laser Technology at Lockheed Martin IMAX Theater

February 18, 2016
News Release

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Smithsonian Theaters is launching IMAX’s new laser projection system in the Lockheed Martin IMAX Theater at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., Feb. 25. The new system represents a quantum leap forward in cinema technology—providing audiences with the sharpest, brightest, clearest and most vivid digital images ever, combined with a new level of immersive audio.

The Lockheed Martin IMAX Theater is among the first theaters in the world to feature this cutting-edge technology. The museum’s 74-by-49-foot screen is one of the largest screens in the Mid-Atlantic. The theater’s upgrade will include a brand-new screen, new state-of-the-art 3-D glasses that optimize the laser-system experience and a new sound and projection system. The theater will reopen with an impressive set of curated films with themes that tie into the museum such as Journey to Space, D-Day: Normandy 1944 and Living in the Age of Airplanes. Coming soon is Toni Myer’s highly anticipated A Beautiful Planet April 29.

The new laser digital system allows the theater to play a wider range of movies at the museum. To kick off the exciting new changes, Star Wars: The Force Awakens is returning Feb. 26−28 for a three-day-only Washington exclusive, featuring the new state-of-the-art laser 3-D projection and 12-channel sound system. During the theater’s “Sci-Fi Sundays” in March, guests can watch The Martian in IMAX 3D March 6, 13, 20 and 27 at 3:30 p.m.

The new IMAX laser system is a reimagination of the movie-theater experience. The dual 4K laser projection system is equipped with a new optical engine and suite of proprietary technologies capable of projecting an image with up to a 1.43:1 aspect ratio with maximum resolution and sharpness, unparalleled 2-D and 3-D brightness, industry-leading contrast and an expanded color range that will allow filmmakers to present more vivid and exotic colors than ever before.

The next-generation sound system delivers greater power and precision for ultimate audio immersion. The new system has been upgraded to 12 discrete channels plus sub-bass, and it includes additional side channels and new overhead channels that will improve the system’s ability to position sounds around the audience.

In addition to built-in image calibration and audio-tuning features, the system is linked to a 24/7/365 Network Operations Center that is constantly monitoring thousands of points of information to ensure optimum performance, show after show. The combination of these new advances together with images and soundtracks remastered specifically for the new laser system will further elevate the audience’s ability to suspend disbelief through the world’s most advanced cinema technology.

Tickets are available at the Lockheed Martin IMAX Theater box office or online at www.si.edu/imax. Groups of 10 or more may reserve tickets now for any date during the film’s expected run by calling 866-868-7774 or visiting www.si.edu/groupsales. The Lockheed Martin IMAX Theater is located on the second floor of the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., which is located at Sixth Street and Independence Avenue S.W. on the National Mall.

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SI-80-2016