Infantry Museum IMAX Drops Hollywood Feature Films … for Now


Joe Kleinman, Director of Attractions and IMAX Programming for the National Infantry Museum,  says the Hollywood feature films are not gone forever. In fact, he is working on a deal to play one during the  Christmas season. But, for now, the huge screen will only be playing documentaries. 

Joe Kleinman, Director of Attractions and IMAX Programming, National Infantry Museum , Columbus, GA

Joe Kleinman, Director of Attractions and IMAX Programming, National Infantry Museum , Columbus, GA

This is not unusual for a museum IMAX, he told me. The big Hollywood pictures are quite expensive, even when they are second run like those that have played at the Columbus IMAX.  Even if the museum wanted to play first-run  features, it couldn’t.  He said, “The film distributors don’t want a first-run movie to be competing against itself.”   He said the studios don’t won’t the same film running in two theaters that are less than five miles apart. Fort Benning’s Wynnsong multiplex, which is operated by Carmike Cinemas,  is closer than 5 miles away.  Also, Kleinman says the Columbus IMAX doesn’t want to tie up the theater all day to run the same feature film, which it would have to do with first-run movies.  It wants to be able to show the documentaries that are shot in the IMAX format.

Frankly, says, Kleinman, the documentaries have been making more money than the Hollywood features  for the museum.  The museum gets a better deal on them. As an example, he said the 50-minute 3-D NASCAR documentary pulled larger audiences than the Startrek movie when they recently ran.   

I pointed out that when I went to the IMAX at the naval air museum at Pensacola, it wasn’t playing any feature films. It featured an IMAX-shot documentary about the famous Blue Angels fighter jet demonstration squadron stationed at the Pensacola Naval Air Station.  Kleinman said an IMAX documentary on the U.S. Army Infantry is in the planning stage.   

The two docs now playing are Coral Reef Adventure and Lewis and Clark: Great Journey West.   I saw the Lewis and Clark one at a Florida IMAX a few years ago. It is well-suited for the huge IMAX screen.  I’ll probably go see it again.

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