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Science Museum IMAX re-opens in December with latest laser technology and original 70mm projector

The Science Museum’s newly refurbished IMAX: The Ronson Theatre will re-open with the UK premiere of BBC Earth’s Antarctica 3D shown in new IMAX® with Laser  
  • Science Museum’s new IMAX: The Ronson Theatre re-opens on Wednesday 9 December following a major refurbishment to mark 20 years of the cinema
  • The IMAX will be one of only two screens in Europe to feature the very best of digital and analogue cinema, bringing together IMAX 70mm film and next-generation IMAX with Laser
  • Tickets released for UK premiere of BBC Earth’s Antarctica 3D in IMAX with Laser.
IMAX The Ronson Theatre auditorium with a view of the screen showing a rocket launch
IMAX: The Ronson Theatre at the Science Museum © Science Museum Group

Following ten months of closure to allow for a major revamp, the Science Museum’s popular IMAX cinema returns to cement its place as Europe’s leading destination for film fans. Bringing together IMAX 70mm film and next-generation IMAX with Laser alongside the museum’s incredible objects, the newly named IMAX: The Ronson Theatre will present a unique and truly immersive story-telling experience.

The Science Museum’s IMAX cinema will be one of only two screens in Europe to feature the very best of both digital and analogue cinema, allowing the museum to host newly-released blockbusters, 3D educational films and cinema classics as well as an array of live events, all at the home of science and technology. The design by Ellis Williams Architects, who recently completed a major refurbishment of the Leicester Square Odeon, features modern cinema seating for visitors to enjoy films and events in maximum comfort, while a new concessions area will complete the cinema-going experience with relaxed seating and refreshments bar.

Opening on Wednesday 9 December, the IMAX will launch with the UK premiere of BBC Earth’s highly anticipated documentary, Antarctica 3D narrated by Academy Award®-nominated actor, Benedict Cumberbatch and distributed by SK Films. Audiences will be able to experience the breath-taking landscape, treacherous climate and incredible wildlife of the icy continent through the wonder of IMAX with Laser in 3D and immersive sound. Tickets are available to book now on the Science Museum’s website

Families will also be able to enjoy the return of visitor favourites: A Beautiful Planet 3D, narrated by Jennifer Lawrence, provides a unique vantage point to witness humanity’s impact on the natural world; and Hubble 3D, narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio, follows a team of astronauts as they perform one of the most difficult and important tasks in NASA’s history. 

Sir Ian Blatchford, Director of the Science Museum Group, said: ‘We’re delighted to be safely welcoming back audiences to our revamped IMAX cinema next month, hopefully projecting some joy as well as igniting curiosity in our visitors with incredible stories of scientific endeavour. Cinema has a tremendous power to spark our imagination and transport us to other worlds, a means of escape that is much needed by us all today.

As we look to our world beyond coronavirus, I can't imagine a more fitting film to open this magnificent new cinema than Antarctica 3D, which explores the impact of climate change on our planet.’

Mark Cutmore, Head of Commercial Experiences, Science Museum Group, said: ‘The thrill of watching a film on the big screen is unlike any other and we can’t wait to share this with our visitors once again. With enhanced measures in place to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience, our audiences can sit back, relax and rest assured that their health and safety is our top priority.’

Giovanni Dolci, IMAX Head of Global Sales, said: ‘IMAX is thrilled to bring moviegoers back to the theatre with such an incredible institution and partner in the Science Museum. IMAX: The Ronson Theatre will again provide visitors a place to immerse themselves in new worlds, now with the latest in moviegoing technology. We look forward to continuing to work with the Science Museum on bringing new adventures to their loyal customers for years to come.’

Nicole Ronson Allalouf, Trustee of The Gerald and Gail Ronson Family Foundation, said: ‘The Science Museum has inspired and educated generations of people of all ages from around the world with stories of human achievement and scientific excellence for over one and a half centuries. We are very proud to be able to support this pioneering project in such a unique environment to further enhance visitors’ understanding and experience of the world we live in and beyond.’

The safety of visitors and staff is the museum’s top priority and a number of measures are in place to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Visitors will be asked to book their cinema tickets in advance online, and must also pre-book free, timed tickets for museum entry. Cinema capacity will be limited with socially distanced seating arrangements, hand sanitiser stations will be located at key points, and there will be enhanced cleaning of the cinema between screenings. More information about the Science Museum’s health and safety measures can be found on the FAQs page.

The redevelopment has been made possible by the kind support of The Gerald and Gail Ronson Family Foundation.

Booking now open for Antarctica 3D, A Beautiful Planet 3D and Hubble 3D from 9-16 December. Future programme to be announced in due course.

A unique experience for film fans

IMAX: The Ronson Theatre will be home to the best projection technology available allowing an even greater variety of IMAX films to be shown. With an aspect ratio of 1.43:1, the museum’s original IMAX 70mm film projector offers viewers up to 40% more film image on screen than in standard cinemas, combining the largest, clearest images with specially created sound for a high-quality viewing experience. A favourite among film makers and film buffs, the format was discussed by Director and Academy-Award® winning Visual Effects Designer, Paul Franklin (Inception, Interstellar) on the Science Museum blog.

Joining the Science Museum’s IMAX 70mm film projector will be the new IMAX Grand Theatre with Laser system featuring dual 4K laser projectors, providing film fans with a rare opportunity to view the cult favourite format and IMAX’s most advanced cinematic experience yet on one screen. The new IMAX with Laser delivers increased resolution, crystal clear projection, sharper and brighter images, deeper contrasts as well as the widest range of colours available to filmmakers, combined with the introduction of IMAX’s incredible 12-channel precision sound system to produce a thrillingly immersive 3D sound experience. 

Sustainability at its core

Sustainability has been at the heart of the refurbishment, including seats made of post-consumer recycled fibre, carpets from recycled plastic and new LED lighting, while new 3D glassware material will mean glasses last over four times as long as before. The Science Museum has also used the refurbishment as an opportunity to support independent cinemas by donating the former cinema seats and its digital projector; while the refreshments bar will be stocked with products from local suppliers who share the Science Museum’s passion for working towards a more sustainable future.

20 years of IMAX at the Science Museum

The Science Museum’s IMAX Theatre opened its doors in 2000 and has since shown some of the biggest blockbusters in 70mm from JJ Abram’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story to Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar and an unrestored print of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. Combining the thrill of cinema with incredible objects of scientific discovery, fans of Nolan’s Dunkirk exited screenings in 2017 to the view of a real Hawker Hurricane that flew at Dunkirk during the Second World War, while viewers of Apollo 11: First Steps Edition could also see a training console used by Apollo astronauts and the extraordinary Command Module which carried the Apollo 10 crew into the Moon’s orbit and back in 1969.

The IMAX Theatre has been at the heart of science and culture for the last 20 years and has welcomed to its stage some of the greatest minds in science and culture. In 2013, Professor Stephen Hawking gave a lecture on physics and our universe, and in 2015 he shared the stage with the first person to walk in space, cosmonaut Alexei Leonov. Visitors have also enjoyed a conversation between will.i.am and Bill Gates, a Q&A with Christopher Nolan, a talk on AI in music chaired by Jarvis Cocker, the TEDxLondon Conference and a live recording of the Guilty Feminist podcast.

ENDS

 

INFORMATION FOR VISITORS

IMAX: The Ronson Theatre re-opens on Wednesday 9 December 2020.
Open Wednesday-Sunday, and seven days a week during school holidays, excluding Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day. 
Booking now open for showings of Antarctica 3D, A Beautiful Planet 3D and Hubble 3D from 9-16 December at www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/imax-cinema

NOTES TO EDITORS

For further information and enquiries about press tickets, please contact Amrita Pal, Press Officer, on 020 7942 4096 or Amrita.Pal@ScienceMuseum.ac.uk. Images can be downloaded here.

About the Science Museum

As the home of human ingenuity, the Science Museum’s world-class collection forms an enduring record of scientific, technological and medical achievements from across the globe. Welcoming over 3 million visitors a year, the Museum aims to make sense of the science that shapes our lives, inspiring visitors with iconic objects, award-winning exhibitions and incredible stories of scientific achievement. More information can be found at sciencemuseum.org.uk.

About the Science Museum Group 

The Science Museum Group is the world’s leading group of science museums, welcoming over five million visitors each year to five sites: the Science Museum in London; the National Railway Museum in York; the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester; the National Science and Media Museum in Bradford; and Locomotion in Shildon. We share the stories of innovations and people that shaped our world and are transforming the future, constantly reinterpreting our astonishingly diverse collection of 7.3 million items spanning science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine. Standout objects include the record-breaking locomotive Flying Scotsman, Richard Arkwright’s textile machinery, Alan Turing’s Pilot ACE computer and the earliest surviving recording of British television. Our mission is to inspire futures - igniting curiosity among people of all ages and backgrounds. group.sciencemuseum.org.uk

About the Gerald and Gail Ronson Family Foundation

The Gerald and Gail Ronson Family Foundation exists to help the socially disadvantaged. It provides opportunities in education, community, welfare, medicine, security and the arts. 

The Foundation is the result of a lifetime’s dedication to philanthropy from one of the UK’s foremost businessmen, Gerald Ronson CBE, together with his wife Dame Gail Ronson DBE and their daughters. The Foundation has made a demonstrable impact empowering people to build better lives for themselves. 

About IMAX Corporation 

IMAX, an innovator in entertainment technology, combines proprietary software, architecture and equipment to create experiences that take you beyond the edge of your seat to a world you've never imagined. Top filmmakers and studios are utilizing IMAX theaters to connect with audiences in extraordinary ways, and, as such, IMAX's network is among the most important and successful theatrical distribution platforms for major event films around the globe. 

IMAX is headquartered in New York, Toronto, and Los Angeles, with additional offices in London, Dublin, Tokyo, and Shanghai. As of September 30, 2020, there were 1,632 IMAX theater systems (1,542 commercial multiplexes, 13 commercial destinations, 77 institutional) operating in 82 countries and territories. Shares of IMAX China Holding, Inc., a subsidiary of IMAX Corporation, trade on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange under the stock code "HK.1970." 

IMAX®, IMAX® Dome, IMAX® 3D, IMAX® 3D Dome, Experience It In IMAX®, The IMAX Experience®, An IMAX Experience®, An IMAX 3D Experience®, IMAX DMR®, DMR®, IMAX nXos® and Films to the Fullest®, are trademarks and trade names of the Company or its subsidiaries that are registered or otherwise protected under laws of various jurisdictions. More information about the Company can be found at www.imax.com. You may also connect with IMAX on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

About Discover South Kensington

Discover South Kensington brings together the Science Museum and other leading cultural and educational organisations to promote innovation and learning. South Kensington is the home of science, arts and inspiration. Discovery is at the core of what happens here and there is so much to explore every day. discoversouthken.com

About the BBC Studios Natural History Unit

BBC Studios Natural History Unit produces the world’s most iconic natural history programmes, such as Blue Planet II and Planet Earth II, which have been watched by more than a billion people globally. Ranging from technically challenging live shows and super-landmarks to long-running series and children’s content, The Natural History Unit programmes include Seven Worlds, One Planet presented by Sir David Attenborough, Primates, Earth’s Tropical Islands, Dynasties, Blue Planet Live, Springwatch, Bears About the House, Andy’s Aquatic Adventures and third-party commissions for Discovery, Apple, NBC, Quibi, National Geographic and BBC America. 

The Natural History Unit is part of BBC Studios, a subsidiary of the BBC, which develops, produces and distributes bold, British content, making over 2500 hours of content each year, operating in 22 markets globally and generating revenue of around £1.4bn. In the year to March 2019, it returned £243m to the BBC Group, complementing the BBC’s licence fee and enhancing programmes for UK audiences. 

About BBC Studios

BBC Studios, a global content company with British creativity at its heart, is a commercial subsidiary of the BBC Group. Formed in April 2018 by the merger of BBC Worldwide and BBC Studios, it spans content financing, development, production, sales, branded services and ancillaries. BBC Studios’ award-winning British programmes are internationally recognised across a broad range of genres and specialisms. It has offices in 22 markets globally, including six production bases in the UK and production bases and partnerships in a further nine countries around the world. The company, which makes 2500 hours of content a year, is a champion for British creativity around the world and a committed partner for the UK’s independent sector. BBC Studios has revenue of £1.4bn, and returns around £200m to the BBC Group annually, complementing the BBC’s licence fee and enhancing programmes for UK audiences.

About SK Films

SK Films is an award-winning content provider and a global leader in the IMAX®/Giant Screen industry. SK works across various genres and platforms, including theatrical, television and digital media, with a special emphasis on creating high impact natural history and science related content. 

SK has a reputation as one of the most accomplished and respected producers and distributors supplying 3D, 2D and Dome product to IMAX and other Giant Screen theaters worldwide, with a mission to entertain and inspire audiences and immerse them in the awe and wonder of the world we live in. For more information, please visit SKFilms.ca