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Ambitious makeovers for local moviehouses

Posted by: Colin Covert under Behind the scenes, Movies, People Updated: June 24, 2014 - 2:20 PM
Photo: Science Museum of Minnesota.

Photo: Science Museum of Minnesota.

Local theaters are keeping up with the Joneses, and with the latest technology, in a round of significant renovations and upgrades.
 
The Science Museum of Minnesota is preparing to convert the William L. McKnight-3M Omnitheater from film to IMAX’s next-generation digital laser projection. The 370–seat St. Paul venue will be the first IMAX laser dome theater in the world, promising images with greater brightness and clarity, a wider color spectrum and inkier blacks.
The Omnitheater will close Sept. 2 – Oct. 3, reopening with “Flight of the Butterflies.” New carpeting and seats will be added next year, and the auditorium will begin testing the new laser projection system.
 
The St. Anthony Main Theater is in the midst of ongoing renovations. On Wednesday installation of its new rocker seats will be complete. With added aisle space, the five-plex’s capacity dropsfrom 1,000 to 790. As improvements continue through the fall, owner John Rimarcik promises refurbished “carpet, decor, and a new concession stand. It’s going to look like it did when it opened 35 years ago,” he said, including repairs to the existing marquee. After consulting with theater sign specialists in Los Angeles, he said, he opted to keep a consistent retro look from the lobby to the original marquee, “with the individual letters put up with sticks.” The theater’s digital projection and sound were upgraded in March and June of 2013.
 
The humongous Great Clips IMAX Theatre at the Minnesota Zoo Is upping its game as well. It recently added IMAX’s incandescent-bulb digital projection technology to complement the existing IMAX 70mm film projection system. The film setup will remain at least through November for the release of celluloid purist Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar.” The 550-seat Zoo boasts the largest screen in the state, 63 by 86 feet, with a projection surface equivalent to the side of a seven story building. 

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