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NEW DELHI: Director SS Rajamouli’s much-awaited period drama RRR will also have an IMAX release, on 25 March. IMAX is a 70 mm motion picture film format and set of cinema projection standards where the screen image width is greater than the height of the screen.

Apart from IMAX, premium large formats currently available in India include 4DX, a motion picture technology that allows for environmental effects such as seat motion, wind and rain along with standard audio and video. There is also EPIC that offers extra large screens and Dolby Atmos sound and seats with more leg room. To be sure, these formats mean greater costs. The first obstacle is at the exhibition level where cinema owners have to equip theatres with expensive visual and audio systems combined with plush seating and decor.

A premium format like IMAX requires about 8 crore more than a regular auditorium; 4DX, on the other hand, demands 3 crore more than the standard multiplex screen costs, an expense that is passed on to the consumer via higher ticket prices. Then there is the cost of crafting content suitable for premium formats that producers incur. While Hollywood may still come up with films like Tenet and Fast and Furious 8 almost every month, even an occasional Baahubali 2: The Conclusion or RRR is a challenge for Indian film makers to produce.

Filmmakers, on the other hand, feel there is no theatre space. Also, at any point of time, IMAX has a huge pipeline of Hollywood content programmed for the next two or three years. However, entertainment industry experts say that online streaming platforms like Amazon Prime Video and Netflix and increasing broadband penetration across the country only necessitate formats that can bring people back to theatres.

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