San Diego’s Reuben H. Fleet Science Center & IMAX Commemorate 40th Anniversary of the World’s First IMAX® Dome Theatre
Your first encounter with IMAX may have been in a space or science center watching documentaries in an IMAX Dome theatre. Our legacy began with many of those inspiring documentaries that took audiences from the edge of their seat to a journey throughout space. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the world’s first IMAX Dome theatre, the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center and we are excited to celebrate years of enriching minds through documentary filmmaking.
Recently, IMAX executives visited the San Diego-based Reuben H. Fleet Center to commemorate the theatre’s 40th anniversary. Other special guests in attendance included San Diego Mayor Filner, the Canadian Consul General David Fransen and several other business leaders in the technology sector.
L to R: Sherri Lightner (San Diego Councilmember), Brian Bonnick (IMAX Chief Technology Officer), Rory Moore (CEO CommNexus), David Campbell (IMAX SVP of Corporate Theater Development), David Fransen (Consul General of Canada)
The idea for the first IMAX dome theatre dates back to the late 1960s, when the San Diego Hall of Science (now the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center) - eager to find a way to simulate a more immersive space exploration experience for its guests - began searching for a large-format film system to project on the dome of its planned 76-foot planetarium. The Center came across IMAX, a Canadian-based technology company that had just installed its first permanent large-format projection system at Ontario Place's Cinesphere in Toronto.
There was one problem, however: the IMAX projection system was unsuitable for use inside a dome theatre. A partnership was formed and, after several discussions with the Center’s aerospace engineers and rocket scientists, IMAX went to work – recruiting many of its best and brightest to redesign the IMAX projection system, originally created by IMAX founder Bill Shaw, and develop special filming techniques to create an immersive 180-degree film experience. The dome theatre opened in 1973 with Voyage to the Outer Planets (produced by Graphic Films) and Garden Isle (by Roger Tilton Films) on a double bill. Today, there are more than 50 IMAX dome theatres across the world.
In conjunction with the anniversary ceremony, IMAX’s Chief Tech Officer Brian Bonnick and SVP of Corporate Theater Development David Campbell, hosted a select group of entrepreneurs through the CommNexus Marketlink program, which connects businesses with up-and-coming entrepreneurs to promote innovation and evaluate potential business partnerships.