The Toronto-based exhibitor certainly can. According to The Hollywood Reporter:
…Imax is busily looking to increase its number of pre-release engagements for Hollywood tentpole titles as [it] aims to stand out in a crowded field, which includes new competition from China’s upstart Dmax technology.
“We believe that incorporating some kind of Imax DNA, such as the cameras and aspect ratios, is one of the key ingredients of ensuring the success of an Imax early-release, Imax CEO Richard Gelfond told analysts Friday morning.
Gelfond pointed to six to eight upcoming Hollywood titles that could potentially benefit from audiences slipping on the Imax 3D glasses early.
“On that point, stay tuned,” he told analysts.
Oh, we will.
For this to become a regular thing, THR points out, isn’t so easy. First, movies need “to have been shot, if only partially, using proprietary cameras and with a specific aspect ratio.” And studios may be reluctant to do all this without knowing that Transformers 10 or whatever “will benefit from early word-of-mouth from Imax’s fanboy audience, something it can only determine when a movie is completed or locked.”
Second, exhibitors have to be on board with devoting screens for the release.
If the relevant parties can agree, I think it’s an excellent idea. Blockbusters are big and gaudy and colorful, so another topping sounds great. Movies are expensive anyway—unless you head to the multiplex right after breakfast—so what’s a few more bucks? Plus, you get to revel in seeing a pop culture event early, just like a big shot.
But, remember, no amount of IMAX goodness can improve a terrible movie like Captain America: The First Avenger. Multiplied by millions, those “few more bucks” can cause a lot of agitation.