BIG FLICKS: World’s tallest IMAX screen going up in Pooler

Workers raise the new IMAX screen at Pooler's Royal Cinemas.

Royal Cinemas & IMAX in Pooler announced they will soon be opening what they say will be the world’s tallest IMAX screen, featuring laser imaging, almost perfect sound, and premium recliners. Management says they hope to have the state-of-the-art auditorium and screen up and running by the end of February.

IMAX built the one-of-a-kind, immersive theater especially for Royal Cinemas & IMAX in Pooler, from the ground up, in which it promises to deliver “crystal clear, lifelike images and precision audio for a moviegoing experience unlike anything else.”

IMAX with Laser is set apart by a groundbreaking 4K laser projection system that features a new optical engine, custom designed lenses, and a suite of proprietary technology that delivers brighter images than before, with increased resolution, deeper contrast, and the widest range of colors, exclusive to IMAX screens.

The custom-built installation was years in the making, according to Camille Penney, one of the theater’s general managers.

“A few years back, we knew our 10-year contract would be up with IMAX and we’d have to upgrade the system or we’d have to figure out something new,” she said. “…or IMAX could technically come and get their equipment. The biggest trend in moviegoing (for the last decade or so) has been premium recliners as seating. But, at the time, IMAX screens weren’t suited for those because of how they change the viewing angles. We asked, and they said it wasn’t a possibility, but then they came back to us with an idea on how they could make it work. IMAX screens are built specifically for that distinct location, so they studied how they could make it work for us and came up with a plan.”

“This would be pretty exotic for them (IMAX),” added Emily Hagan, another GM at the theater. “But they worked with us and came up with dimensions that would make the viewing angles work. So we started building out in 2019. And you know what happened. With COVID, and labor shortages and supply-chain issues, things have taken a little longer than we expected,” she added.

And if they had finished the building on time, they would be able to boast having the “largest IMAX screen in the world.” 

“A place in Germany beat us to it,” said Hagan. “Their screen is wider, so now we have to just go with ‘tallest in the world.’”

And at 101 feet wide and over 76 feet tall, it certainly will be—for the time being anyway.

“Everyone is on the 10-year plan,” said Penney. “So we’re ahead of the curve here, but we will be one of the only IMAX screens in North America with the laser technology, right now.”

And Hollywood blockbusters are growing with the new-fangled times. 

“It costs a lot for a movie to be built into IMAX format,” said Penney. “IMAX takes the original prints at the discretion of the directors and enhances them for their system.”

The theater will stay open with its current IMAX auditorium while construction and installation takes place over the next few weeks. Workers have been busy installing the huge screen, which was painted by a one-of-a-kind robotic arm that IMAX sends to paint each of its screens across the world.

And if you wondered if it would live up to the billing, don’t worry—the theater staff has already gone in to test out the new toy.

“When we first installed the system, we went in as management and watched a movie and it was so amazing—the sound and vibration, and everything. Words can’t describe the fully immersive experience that guests will have,” said Hagan. “The laser sound and projection are unlike anything anyone in this region has ever seen or heard. Because this is world’s tallest—well, the closest to us that would compare is in Melbourne, Australia!”


The New Royal Cinemas & IMAX screen by the numbers:

- Opening February, 2022

- The World’s Tallest IMAX Screen

- 363 premium recliner seats

- Screen: 101 feet wide x 76 feet 2 inches tall

- Screen painted by a one-of-a-kind, specially designed robotic arm


About The Author

Christopher Sweat

Creative|Content Director of Connect Savannah
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