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St. Stephen’s Green Omniplex to Open in Dublin…

This is just a short post about a fairly exciting piece of news that’s broken (seemingly out of nowhere) over the past few days about the developement of a massive Omniplex Cinema at St. Stephen’s Green. It’s interesting that the southside hasn’t really had a ‘big’ cinema – the Screen is a landmark, but three screens isn’t really massive – and it’s something I’ve noticed (I live on the northside, but I work on the southside). I guess we’ll have to wait and see how the idea works out, but something occurs to me: how come we aren’t getting an Imax screen?

Remember the metro plan?

In fairness, there is probably a risk of oversturation, but I don’t really think that you can oversaturate cinemas. I mean, the Savoy and Cineworld operate within a stone’s throw of each other, and myself and the better half tend to balance our trips between both of them (though Cineworld general has more screening times, so maybe our trips are skewed). Putting a cinema near St. Stephen’s Green makes sense, particularly if we ever plan for it to be the major hub we had planned before this recession malarky (seriously, like we’re ever going to have an underground metro?). With a Luas station, a train station, a cinema and a shopping centre, St. Stephen’s Green would be the unofficial centre of Dublin. Let’s just hope Liam Neeson doesn’t plan to attack us with some weaponised fear toxin.

You’d imagine the recession would slow massive projects like this – particularly with, y’know, the lack of developers and all that – but the word on the street is that this will open in 2011. Factoring in the typical Irish delay (remember the tunnel?), that means 2012, but that’s still pretty impressive in times like these. I know I’ll give it a shot and – being honest – it might actually be the most convenient screening location for me of a Friday night.

But one thing bothers me.

Ireland still won’t have an Imax screen. For those too young to remember, there used to be one such screen in Parnell Street. In fact, it was a key selling point when the place opened up. The only Imax movie I have ever seen – a movie about Everest – I saw there as a kid on a summer trip to Dublin. However, it wasn’t the most financially successful of ideas, so it faded and disappeared – much like the entire complex threatened to do before Cineworld took over.

But that was then and this is now. Imax faltered back then because all they showed were nature documentaries. Don’t get me wrong, that’s nice for a family on a weekend afternoon, but what couple wants a date night with sharks eating cute dolphins? We’d rather see them eat unlikeable people. Okay, so I enjoyed Deep Blue Sea – sue me.

Seriously, though, Imax is a key part of Hollywood’s whole ‘bums in seats’ plan – the goal being to force movie-goers into a cinema for an experience they can’t emulate at home. 3D is the other massive component of the plan. Still imax seems to be the most cost effective, at least from the way studios are using it. It seems like getting a director to shoot in Imax seems to be much easier than converting the film to 3D, because it’s practically mandatory for big budget films.

Before – and even slightly after – The Dark Knight, you’d generally just be watching a movie on a bigger screen. However, Christopher Nolan actually shot parts of his epic in that format. I didn’t get to see it, as we don’t have an Imax cinema, but I’ve watched the blu ray which offers a hint of the experience: in key scenes, the letterbox actually pulls back and the screen expands, sucking you in and making events look even better. It looked impressive on a HD-TV, so I can only imagine how it looked on a giant screen.

An Imax for Dublin should be a priority – it would give the cinema with the screen a serious advantage over its competitors. Dublin has a vibrant enough cinema scene that people will notice and word-of-mouth will spread, but it’s also something important enough to draw the audience from around the country to see. I’d take a three-hour train journey to see The Dark Knight for the first time in Imax. It’s a niche just waiting to be filled.

Still, that complaint aside, I’m excited. Because I’m a film nerd and this is film news. Maybe they are just saving the Imax announcement for the future.

I can always hope.

2 Responses

  1. I 100% agree with you. Its been 10 years since the Parnell Street IMAX shut down and we have not had one ever since. I’ll probably actually start campaigning for one, but if we ever do get one, please hope to Zeus that it isn’t a digital one.

  2. hey all in all OMNI. CINEMA S r all irish. All modern well espablised. DITIAL 3D.
    CAN i say very well furbished .
    well built.


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