Difference Between IMAX and Normal Theater

The majority of cinema goers are willing to pay a few extra dollars to enjoy the audio-visual quality that IMAX provides. As the entertainment industry is flourishing, various film formats, cinema technologies, and types of standard theaters have emerged.

Overall, IMAX and regular theaters vary widely, the former being more efficient and advantageous.

Considering all aspects, IMAX offers the most innovative movie-going experience. It is preferred by the audience for its impressive visuals and heart-pounding audio.

It is established that IMAX is better than the normal theater, however, one would want to know what exactly separates an IMAX from a regular theater.

IMAX vs Normal Theater

The main difference between IMAX and regular theater is the resolution aspect. Other differences between the two are screen sizes, film formats, sound, projection techniques, and cost. Read more about RPX vs IMAX Comparison

To give you a better idea, learn more about IMAX and Normal Cinemas separately.

IMAX Movie Theatres

First introduced in 1967, however, they gained popularity in the 2000s. In IMAX theaters, the projected images are so realistic due to the big rounded dome and flat-screen.

IMAX was a step up in the entertainment industry with its larger screen, superior audio, and visual quality.

Regular Theaters

Standard theaters are found in all cities, rural, and underdeveloped areas. These theaters have been running since earlier times and used old technology.

As time progressed, there was a change in their technology, cameras, and modern entertainment techniques.

Mostly popular for 2D movies, these standard theaters have only a limited range of pixels and resolutions.

Difference Between IMAX and Standard Theaters

To compare, here is a list of differences that distinguishes IMAX from normal theaters.


  • IMAX – IMAX works on advanced technology to deliver astoundingly high image quality. This big-screen movie format cinematography is ten times better than the standard movie format. It delivers awe-inspiring images with exceptional audio quality.
  • Regular Theater – Normal theaters work on basic principles and provide traditional screen cinematography with a limited pixel resolution and basic audio channels. Moreover, modern standard theaters have developed significantly to adapt to the latest technologies.


  • IMAX – IMAX Corporation introduced this projection technology on 20th august 1967.
  • Regular Theater – Standard theaters have been around for the longest time. These screens were founded between 1879-1965 by French Physicist Henri Chretien.

Video Quality

  • IMAX – It is a no-brainer as IMAX is a clear winner here. IMAX uses dual 4K Laser projection and Digital Re-mastering or DMR to enhance images and sound for an immersive experience. Custom, reflective screens promote realism with optimal clarity and detail. In short, IMAX delivers high graphics and visual images with enhanced audio effects.
  • Regular Theater – Regular theaters have a decent resolution but can not be compared to IMAX. It has standard quality with limited pixel resolution and brightness.

Type of Screens

  • IMAX – IMAX theatres are widely known for their unique, one-of-a-kind projection screens. It features a dome circular and huge plain screens that cover nearly the entire theater.
  • Regular Theaters – These standard theaters have regular projection screens of limited pixel resolution.

Screen Size

  • IMAX – IMAX has bigger screens than RPC and regular theaters. IMAX screens typically measure 22 x 16.1 m or more. The superiority of IMAX lies in its ability to project ultra-high-definition larger-than-life images. These screens either have an aspect ratio of 1:43:1 or 1:90:1.
  • Regular Theater – Standard screens are considerably smaller than IMAX. Plus, they have an aspect ratio of 2:40:1. Not to mention, that some regular theaters are equipped with pretty sizable screens.

Projection Format

  • IMAX – IMAX follows three different projection formats for a variety of products and has a 70mm film system. These film formats include laser, 15 perforations, and IMAX 2K Digital.
  • Regular Theater – Standard cinemas are equipped with only a single film format, 35mm on a rectangular screen.


  • IMAX – IMAX takes the lead here with a patented 12.1 channel 15,000-watt digital speaker. With such an immersive explosion, the exceptional audio will make you feel like part of the story.
  • Regular Theater – Standard theaters have standard sound quality with a basic audio system. These cinemas typically use 5.1 or the same kind of sound systems.

Ticket Price

  • IMAX – Understandably, IMAX is expensive, and costs significantly more to watch a movie at an IMAX venue. On average, the IMAX ticket price costs around $20.
  • Regular Theater – Regular theaters are significantly cheaper typically charging $4.50 to $8.00. At maximum, you will be paying about $15.

IMAX vs Regular Theaters – Which is Better?

To sum up, IMAX has the highest resolution with stronger, clearer pictures with a higher rate of contrast and enhanced sound effects. In contrast, Standard theaters are affordable and worth watching a movie in.

In conclusion, IMAX is ahead of standard theaters in many ways. Lastly, it is worth watching a movie in an IMAX theater with an expensive ticket.

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