Saturday, September 15, 2001

First patrons wowed at Imax

Disney classic opens theater on giant screen

By Sarah Buerhle
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        NEWPORT — A 35-foot inflatable Mickey Mouse greeted hundreds of expectant children and adults on the opening night Friday of the Firstar Imax Theatre at Newport on the Levee.

        “It's been a little crazy today,” said Jennifer Roberts, marketing manager for Imax. “Our lines have been busy all day. We need more phone lines because the 25 we have are apparently not enough.”

        The new theater opened with showings of Into the Deep, the world's first giant-screen large format 3-D underwater film, and Disney's Fantasia 2000.

        Audience members chatted excitedly as they left the evening's showing of Fantasia 2000. Many were awed by the eight-story-tall, six-story-wide movie screen. The theater boasts a vinyl screen that has more than 20 million perforations, allowing for a large portion of the sound system to be mounted behind the screen.

        It is Greater Cincinnati's first Imax theater. It offers the same style of stadium seating as Cincinnati Museum Center's Omnimax, but the Imax screen is flat rather than domed, so that it appears more like a regular movie screen.

        “I thought it was great. The sound system is superb. The screen is outstanding,” said Dave Brake, 46, of Villa Hills.

        “Compared to that stuff, Riverbend is nothing. That is much louder,” said Matthew Adams, 9, who came with his grandmother, Wilda Vanlandingham of Wilder.

        Earlier in the day, when Into the Deep showed, the theater did not seat patrons in the first two rows or the outer side seats in the 456-seat theater.

        Tony Deaton, 22, who saw Into the Deep, told Imax employees that he was now one of their biggest fans.

        “At one part, it looks like the rows in front of you are underwater, and your head is just above water,” he said. “The colors were so bright I felt like it could never exist on this planet.”

        Fantasia 2000 runs until Oct. 25, when it will be replaced by 3-D Mania and All Access.

        Into the Deep will run through the end of the year and possibly on a limited schedule after that.


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