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IMAX theater going 3-D

A jazzed-up IMAX will return to Broadway at the Beach in May with a new high-tech 3-D theater.

The new IMAX - with plasma-screen televisions showing movie trailers outside and a retail store inside - will replace the company's standard two-dimensional screens with a state-of-the-art, three-dimensional experience.

The IMAX Discovery Theater closed for renovations in December after more than a decade in the 20,669-square-foot building on the 21st Avenue North side of Burroughs & Chapin Co. Inc.'s Broadway at the Beach.

Some of the post-renovation results announced in a news release Thursday include:

The 400-seat theater will be six stories tall.

The 3-D movie screen will be 60 feet tall and 83 feet wide. According to IMAX's Web site, the 3-D screens are painted silver to maximize the amount of light reflected back to the audience.

Inside the building, a 2,500-square-foot store will sell film memorabilia and souvenirs and will display life-size props from the films.

On the building's exterior, a 50-foot tower will display a light show.

Ten plasma-screen televisions will show movie trailers on the outside of the building, where a Great White Shark will be painted.

The original screen was also six-stories high and 80 feet wide, but the movies shown were two-dimensional, as in a regular theater.

The IMAX will continue to offer a 12,000-watt digital surround sound system.

IMAX theaters are independent franchises, and Destination Cinema Inc. is in charge of bringing the three-dimensional experience to Myrtle Beach, according to public relations firm LHWH.

Bob Perkins, chief operating office of DCI, noted the renovations were necessary because IMAX technology has "evolved significantly" since the theater's original opening.

According to IMAX, the three-dimensional films result from cameras that use two identical lenses spaced to match the distance between a person's eyes.

The images are recorded on two separate rolls of film in the camera at the same time and speed.

When shown in the theater, the projector runs the two rolls of film simultaneously past twin projection lenses. The lenses are aligned to project both eyes' views onto the screen.

The company said there are two ways customers can see films in three dimensions: polarized glasses or a headset that includes electronic liquid-crystal shutter glasses. It's not clear which method will be used in Myrtle Beach.

Murray Mold, national marketing director of DCI, said the company plans to partner with school officials to offer entertaining and educational films that can result in classroom learning sessions.

Fast facts

When to watch

The theater's Web site lists the 2007 hours of operation, with shows hourly:

Late May to Sept. 3 | 10 a.m. to midnight

Sept. 4 to Dec. 31 | 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

How much

The theater has announced prices for 2007, which don't include sales tax and are subject to change.

Adults | $10

Children 4 to 12 | $8

Children 3 and younger | Free

Visit www.imax3dmyrtlebeach.com or call 448-IMAX.

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