IMAX Expanded Aspect Ratio will launch on Disney+ in the very near future for a select set of movies. IMAX and tech partner DTS worked with Disney+ to bring the branded “IMAX Enhanced” experience to the streaming platform. Disney+ will be the first streaming service to have access to this IMAX Enhanced system of delivery, starting with a set of 13 movies.
What is IMAX?
Way back in the year 2014 we had a chat about IMAX vs standard release for the movie Star Wars: The Force Awakens. IMAX is a brand in the movie industry that attempts to create a specific sort of experience with a proprietary system of cameras, film, projectors, and theaters. When it came to a movie like The Force Awakens, using IMAX cameras and film meant that certain scenes would look exactly as intended in an IMAX theater, but slightly cropped in all other theaters and screens.
IMAX is a slightly more square format that “standard format” – which at this point is called widescreen. Major films like Star Wars and other Disney movies have filmed with IMAX cameras but make certain that widescreen presentations don’t crop out any particularly important visual information.
What is IMAX Enhanced?
IMAX Enhanced is the brand that IMAX will use from this point forward in bringing their experience to home theaters. In this case, it’s sort of like how some content you view at home will be “Dolby Atmos” enhanced, so long as you have the right equipment to deliver said enhanced sound.
On that note: The IMAX Enhanced experience will include “immersive IMAX signature sound by DTS.” That won’t be part of the enhanced experience at launch here in 2021, but it will be in the future.
IMAX Enhanced delivers content at 1:90:1 aspect ratio, which is great if/when the original film was captured with IMAX film. When this format is carried all the way from the original capture of the film to the final viewing format, we once again reach the point at which we’re watching what the director/cinematographer originally intended to present to a final audience.
IMAX Enhanced Disney+ launch titles
The list of Disney+ movies that’ll be released with IMAX Enhanced picture on November 12 are as follows. Don’t be shocked when you notice the fact that the entire lot is made by Marvel.
• Ant-Man and The Wasp
• Avengers: Endgame
• Avengers: Infinity War
• Black Panther
• Black Widow
• Captain America: Civil War
• Captain Marvel
• Doctor Strange
• Guardians of the Galaxy
• Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
• Iron Man
• Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings
• Thor: Ragnarok
This is only the launch list – there’ll definitely be more movies added to the Disney+ IMAX Enhanced list in the future. It’s entirely likely that Disney will release big films in this format in groups. Take for example Star Wars: it makes sense for Disney+ to launch all the IMAX-compatible Star Wars movies on the platform all at once, all on one special day – like, say, May the 4th, 2022, maybe?
Above you’ll see a presentation from Disney and IMAX about the launch of this brand service with Disney+ this November. It’s entirely likely we’ll see this IMAX Enhanced experience spread to other streaming services in the future – but at launch, it’s all about Disney and the Marvel Cinematic Universe.