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'Tron Legacy' Hits IMAX on December 17, 2010

It should come as no surprise that Disney and IMAX are teaming up for Tron Legacy next year. Disney has a good history with the large format film exhibitor and as Hollywood has seen IMAX as a lucrative point of distribution for its big budget blockbusters, more movies along the line of Tron have either been developed with IMAX in mind or jump all over advantageous market conditions like scheduling. That actually hindered Harry Potter this summer because it had to wait three weeks to super size.

But Disney has inked a deal to release Tron on December 17, 2010 both in 3-D and boring ol' 2-D in your local megaplex and in 3-D on IMAX screens. Here's the really interesting thing: We're talking about two different 3-D standards, because Disney Digital 3-D is not the one IMAX uses. Could that mean three times the ticket sales? Probably not. Maybe a few people will try all three, but that seems a bit much.

Our very smart readers here at The Big Picture already know the difference between a movie shot for IMAX and one that's being upconverted. There's a real visual difference, although you have to think with Tron it will probably be worth the extra cash just to absorb all of those visuals. I don't know if I feel the same way about a lot of the other Hollywood treatments that have done the same thing.

This sort of arrangement is growing more and more viable for the studios and for IMAX. The top-of-mind product, which I assume is marketed almost entirely by the distributors, allows IMAX to increase revenues, and in turn, IMAX continues to build more theaters. That, obviously, makes the partnership more attractive to the studios, who now have even more screens for their blockbusters, and the circle of life continues.

There are two more tests for quality this year at IMAX: A Christmas Carol and Avatar. A full slate of movies follows next year, capped by Tron.

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