Giant screen films, known more commonly as IMAX films, are an emphatically visual mode of communication that premiered with the showing of Tiger Child (1970) at the Fuji Pavilion at Expo 1970 in Osaka, Japan. Today, these forms of visual display are characterized by specially designed two-dimensional (2-D) or three-dimensional (3-D) theaters, multistory screens, and surround sound audio systems. Giant screen theaters have historically been connected with educational or historic venues, such as science centers, museums, and cultural sites, but as the format has shifted from a primarily educational focus to an entertainment focus, stand-alone theaters are increasingly common. In 2009, there were approximately 350 giant screen theaters worldwide, with slightly more than half of these theaters affiliated with institutional venues.

The “giant” in giant screen ...

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