The Amazing Spider-Man 2 opens this weekend, and some moviegoers will pay up to $6 more to see it in IMAX, where the screens are bigger and the action should be more intense. "So real you can feel it in your bones," is how IMAX puts it. But is the IMAX at the multiplex the same as the IMAX you can see at the museum?
From underwater to outer space, IMAX has produced some astounding images of the natural world. One of the first IMAX films, To Fly, has been showing at the Smithsonian since 1976 and is still popular.
IMAX was co-founded in the late 1960s by a group of friends in Canada who had filmmaking and engineering experience. Large format films existed, but they wanted to revolutionize them. With public funding, they built special theaters with screens reaching six stories high and seven stories wide, surround sound and seats on a steep slope that put you even closer to the action. They used cameras with triple-width, 70 millimeter film — 10 times the size as what's used in ordinary cameras.
Learn more from IMAX CEO Richard Gelfond as he discusses the history of IMAX on npr.org.