Some movies are just too big for the big screen. That’s the thinking behind Escape, a three-screen digital panoramic setup that audiences will be able to experience for the first time in showings of The Maze Runner starting on Sept. 19, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Escape, developed by Barco, is essentially a modernized, digital update of Cinerama—a widescreen format popularized in the 1950s that had three 35mm projectors simultaneously playing a single movie on a massive, 146-degree screen. It was a problematic, expensive format that was ultimately phased out (though some Cinerama screens are still up and running in the U.S.). Escape relies on digital technology, though, and can avoid many of the headaches that Cinerama faced.
Ideally, movies will be produced and shot specifically for Escape, and technologies to support this format are currently in the testing phase. The Maze Runner, however, is more of an experiment and was simply formatted to fit the three screens. According to THR, the center screen will show the film and the side screens will display expanded images of the shot, rendered with VFX.
Escape theaters in the U.S. include the Cinemark 18 & XD at the Promenade at Howard Hughes Center in Los Angeles; Cinemark Paradise 24 & XD in Davie, Fla.; Cinemark Legacy Theatre & XD in Plano, Texas; Cinemark @ Seven Bridges and Imax in Woodridge, Ill.; and Cinemark’s Redwood Downtown & XD in Redwood City, Calif. Ticket prices, the report says, will be determined by individual theaters.
Below is Barco’s presentation from this year’s CinemaCon, including a brief look at Escape.