Downtown IMAX Scores Special Star Wars Screenings

Downtown Indy’s IMAX was one of only a dozen theaters in the world selected to show “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” in the 15/70 mm format.

In 75 hours, you could watch all eight Harry Potter movies nearly four times. Take in the extended-edition Lord of the Rings collection a little over eight times. Relive the entire Colts season to date almost twice (but why would you do that to yourself?).

Or you could soak in Star Wars: The Last Jedi 23 times, back-to-back, over four consecutive days at the downtown Indianapolis IMAX Theater in the Indiana State Museum.

From the new foray into a galaxy far, far away’s 7 p.m. premiere Thursday, December 14, to an 11 p.m. wrap-up Sunday, December 17, Luke Skywalker and Rey will battle the Dark Side on a screen nearly ten Harrison Fords tall and fifteen Mark Hamills wide for four days straight without so much as an Imperial minute of rest.

The downtown IMAX was one of only a dozen theaters in the world selected to show the latest Star Wars installment in the 15/70 mm format. The next closest theater to score the special-format screenings is the OMNIMAX at the St. Louis Science Center.

“We’ve already seen ticket sales from Nashville, Tennessee, Chicago, Detroit—it’s kind of interesting to look at cinema or movie as a tourist destination, right?” says IMAX theater manager Craig Mince. “The unique format, shown on the largest screen in the state, offers fans of the franchise a truly one-of-a-kind experience.”

So what’s so special about 15/70 mm film? The IMAX 70 mm format is almost nine times larger than the conventional 35 mm frame used in traditional movie theaters. Images are sharper and more detailed—on a screen as tall as a six-story building. Pop-culture website Decider explains it as the difference between seeing snowflakes falling and being able to distinguish individual flakes.

In case the promise of watching Luke Skywalker slay knights of Ren six times the size of your house isn’t enough for you, the IMAX will be offering free Rogue One 15/70 mm film strips on opening night (December 14), then furnishing another freebie on Friday: Last Jedi mini-posters with IMAX-exclusive poster art.

Artwork by Gabriel Dishaw

The opening-night bash will also feature costumed Star Wars characters (stormtrooper selfies, anyone?) and artwork on display from local “junk artist” and Star Wars enthusiast Gabriel Dishaw, whose past work has included everything from an upcycled Boba Fett sporting a laptop keyboard helmet to a nearly 12-inch-tall Lucky Darth Vader modeled after Nike’s Air Max 90 shoe.

Mince says the Star Wars holiday releases have been the IMAX’s Black Friday for the past two years.

“By the time the two-week period will be over, we’ll probably have sold about 30,000 tickets,” he says. “Which is about a quarter of my annual attendance done in 14 days.”

To put that into perspective, the equivalent of the entire population of Westfield will have seen the film at the IMAX before January 1.

Star Wars is such a phenomenon,” Mince says. “This movie by far will be—even in just the 14 days that it’ll play in 2017—probably the highest-grossing, highest-attended film we will show this year.”

Opening night is sold out, but tickets are still available for opening weekend and the December 15–January 1 dates.

You can purchase Star Wars: The Last Jedi pre-sale tickets for the Dec. 15-Jan. 1 showings here. Tickets range from $15-$17.50 for adults and $13-$14.50 for children 12 and under (hint: swing by Starbucks and opt for the 6:45 a.m. screening for the cheapest rate). The IMAX Theater is located inside the Indiana State Museum (650 W. Washington St.).