Anticipation couldn’t be higher for Disney’s live-action retelling of their animated classic Beauty and the Beast, with the recently released final trailer showcasing more of the vivid production design and enchanted characters. Now, Disney is promising there will be even more of the film to see in IMAX.According to the studio, “for a truly enchanted moviegoing experience” viewers of the IMAX version will experience 26 percent more than what’s shown in standard theaters. In fact, to quote the song (and the studio’s press release), there will indeed be “something there that wasn’t there before.”
The expansion of image from its 2:40:1 aspect ratio to a 1:9:1 in IMAX will carry throughout the entire film, filling more of the screen. The following image released by IMAX illustrates just how much more this adds to the movie. In addition to a digitally re-mastered image created by IMAX DMR technology, powerful digital audio is promised to create “a unique environment that will make audiences feel as if they are in the West Wing of Beast’s Castle.” That’s pretty impressive, when you consider that, as well all know, the West Wing is forbidden.
This isn’t the first time Belle has danced with the Beast in IMAX. A large-format rerelease of the animated classic, restored frame by frame and enhanced with 74-speaker surround, hit theaters on New Year’s Day in 2002. That IMAX release also included for the first time the ‘Human Again’ musical sequence originally cut from the initial version. That version of the film was made available on DVD and Blu-ray, and enhanced later again for rerelease in 3D.
So will audiences find super-sizing of the live-action film an enchanted gimmick, or will they be IMAX’s guest for the enormous enhancement? While it isn’t uncommon for high-profile theatrical releases, especially from Disney, to be formatted for IMAX, this expansion of image, most likely captured in camera alongside the standard widescreen format, adds a bonus level of immersion.Past IMAX releases with expanded aspect ratios have been limited to select sequences, as with the shot-on 65mm moments of The Dark Knight Rises, Interstellar, and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.
Both the standard and IMAX version of this Bill Condon directed reboot promises to “refashion the classic characters” for a contemporary audience, but will also include an updating of the score with several new songs alongside favorites like ‘Be Our Guest,’ ‘Something There’ and ‘Gaston.’
Advanced ticket sales for Beauty and the Beast have already begun for the March 17 release. If that’s not big enough, special fan event screenings will take place at approximately 590 locations on March 16 at 7pm. In addition to being among the first to experience the film, special behind-the-scenes on-screen content will accompany Ariana Grande and John Legend’s music video for their duet of the titular track.