Ashton Set to Live Life to the IMAX

Cineworld to add IMAX cinema screen to popular multiplex

Ten years ago, Ashton-under-Lyne saw its character oozing Metro Cinema on Old Street replaced by a multiplex cinema. Next month, Cineworld is set to celebrate its tenth anniversary on Ashton Moss with a new addition: one that is up to five storeys tall.

From the 10 July 2014, the wonderful world of IMAX cinema presentation is set to wow Tameside cinemagoers. At present, the borough’s film buffs need to travel to Manchester or the Trafford Centre for their fix of this immersive format. The new Transformers film, Transformers: Age of Extinction is set to be Ashton’s first IMAX presentation.

IMAX offers higher definition than standard cinematic formats, which use 35mm film or digital formats. An IMAX film cell is 70mm, which is more than four times the size of standard 35mm cells. Initially, its expense meant shorter films a few minutes shy of an hour. Since 2008, digital technology has lowered the cost of IMAX film exhibition allowing the presentation of feature length films. IMAX 3D films are now more commonplace.

IMAX films are viewed in a vast auditorium with a curved screen. Often to a similar size as the 1930s Super Cinemas, like The Plaza in Stockport or any of the purpose-built ODEONs designed by T. Cecil Howitt. An IMAX screen is similar in shape to the Cinerama screen at the Picturedrome Cinema in Bradford.

Older readers may well recall the Queens’ exhibition of The Robe almost 61 years ago, which left a great impression on Philip Martin Williams (author of the excellent Flickering Memories book). This used CinemaScope, a influential widescreen technology which set the standards for today’s film prints and digital screens. Could IMAX have a similar effect on young Ashtonians who have yet to see similar films at The Print Works or The Trafford Centre? At least the taxi fare from Hurst or Dukinfield would be a lot cheaper.

Cineworld Ashton is a quick hop from Ashton-under-Lyne Interchange, either on the 7 or 217 bus services or the Metrolink tram to Ashton West. If making your way by foot, please allow 15 minutes for your walk.

Transformers: Age of Extinction will make its Ashton IMAX début at 2040, on Thursday 10 July 2014. There will be two showings at 1700 and 2040. As always, check local press and the Cineworld website for full details.

S.V., 27 June 2014.

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