Cineplex Cinemas have announced what they believe to be the next level of cinema – UltraAVX. What is UltraAVX? Back in the 1950’s with the TV taking audiences away from movie theatres (random trivia note: my namesake Shane was the first widescreen film) studios started using scope films to lure audiences back. Bigger is better was the attitude then and now.

UltraAVX is Cineplex’s attempt to mimic IMAX. Bigger wall to wall screens. Better digital projectors with Dolby Digital 7.1 surround sound. Seating is now filled with larger rocker seats – people can walk past you without you standing up and the seats recline slightly. And finally it’s reserved seating. That means you can buy your tickets online and you can show up just as the movie starts and you seat is waiting for you right where you bought it. If your ticket says G-9, you sit in G-9. No more holding seats for people.

Cineplex started with converting seven theatres across Canada and have now expanded to 20 theatres. Saskatoon just got theirs and Regina will get one next year. I went to Saskatoon to check out the theatre (and watched Thor in it – good show) and enjoyed the experience. The tickets are higher – around $3 more than the standard 3D theatre ticket – so $16.25 a ticket. But prices have been raised at Galaxy cinemas so it’s now $11.25 for a standard 2D movie and $14.25 for a regular 3D movie. A couple bucks more and you can watch a movie on a massive screen with plenty of leg room. The audience was better behaved than I’ve seen in a long time. I guess if you are going to splurge on a ticket – you really want to watch the movie, texting / talking cheapskates have other options. Not to say that it won’t happen but why waste money when there are cheaper alternatives.

Is it worth it? I suppose that depends on the individual. It’s not really that much more and I like the really big screen and the surround system. I like the comfy seats and the reserved seating. I dislike 3D but that’s has less to do with the theatre and more with the trend that Hollywood has moved towards. I guess I’ll have to grin and bear it until it goes away.