When I saw an early screening of “Gran Turismo,” the end credits had a format logo that I haven’t seen before. Most movies will have the format logo for Dolby Cinema and/or IMAX. “Gran Turismo” had a ScreenX format logo.
What is ScreenX?
ScreenX offers a panoramic viewing experience by projecting the movie on three screens. Since I enjoyed watching “Gran Turismo” on IMAX, I saw the movie on ScreenX.
The nearest ScreenX theater was at Cinemark Century at Oakridge Mall in San Jose, California. The ScreenX format has been around since 2012. Cinemark didn’t add ScreenX to their theaters until last year.
When I walked into the ScreenX theater, I thought I walked into the wrong theater. From the ScreenX promotional material, I expected to see three dedicated screens. The ScreenX theater had only one screen.
I did notice the two digital projectors near the ceiling that pointed at the opposite wall. The side walls are the side screens. I didn’t think that would work until the movie started.
“Gran Turismo” has types of shots.
- Close-in shots for people talking to each other.
- Wide-open shots for race cars screaming at each other.
When showing a close in shot, the side projectors are off. The close in shots are like watching a regular movie on the center screen. The side projectors are off for half the movie.
With the side projectors on, your eyes get tricked into seeing a wider picture. If you look closely at the side walls, the picture is slightly out of focus. Your side vision is also slightly out of focus relative to your center vision.
Only two or three wide-open shots didn’t look right because an object or a person split between screens. That ruined the illusion of the wider picture.
Will I see another movie on ScreenX again? Probably not.
That has to do with economics.
As an AMC Stubs A-List member, I pay $25 per month to see up to three movies per week in any format (i.e., digital, Dolby Cinema and IMAX). That’s why I haven’t seen a movie at Cinemark Century Oakridge in over ten years. When I saw “Gran Turismo” on ScreenX, I paid $4 for my ticket since it was National Cinema Day.
The novelty of ScreenX doesn’t justify the extra cost I would have to pay.
Disclaimer — I own shares in AMC Theatre stock. AMC provided no compensation or editorial guidance for this blog post.