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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Aziz Ansari vs. IMAX: Film Nerd Fight!

Posted by Erik Henriksen on Wed, May 13, 2009 at 2:55 PM

Comedian Aziz Ansari—of the hilarious Human Giant and the moderately amusing Parks & Recreation—has launched an e-war against IMAX, and I'm wondering why it's taken so long for something like this to happen. Long story short, IMAX used to refer only to 70-foot-tall screens with crazy-ass picture and sound—more recently, though, IMAX has started stamping its name on smaller, crappier theaters, too, all while still charging the same inflated amount for admission.

After watching Star Trek on one of these fake IMAX screens—which film nerds have been known to call IMIN and Baby IMAX—Ansari demanded a refund.

Manager: Sir, we can’t refund the money, you saw the whole film.
Aziz: I don’t want $15, I just want $5 cause AMC lied about IMAX.
Manager: Sir, I can give you popcorn and a drink.
Aziz: I don’t want to go home and drink a nasty soda and eat nasty ass popcorn. I want my $5 back. Its not about the money, its the principle of the matter, ITS NOT IMAX.
Manager: Sorry, I can’t do anything.
Aziz: You know what Twitter is? I have 25,000 followers, I’m tell 25,000 people you run fake IMAX’s and that they should boycott AMC.
Manager: I don’t really care sir.
Aziz: Yeah, I wouldn’t care either if I worked here, but you know you are in the wrong! You should give me $5!!
Manager: SIR, I CAN GIVE YOU POPCORN AND A SODA.
Aziz: I DON’T LIKE POPCORN AND I DON’T LIKE SODA, I WANT MY $5!!!
Manager: Ok here’s two free passes.

(Via Aziz is Bored.)

Aside from the fantastically lame threat of "You know what Twitter is?" and the fact that he waited until after the movie to demand a refund, Ansari is pretty much dead-on here. I know I felt the same way after driving out to goddamn Tigard to see The Dark Knight on IMAX, only to think, "Huh, that sure as fuck wasn't worth it." Sure enough, the IMAX at Regal Bridgeport Village turns up on liemax.com, where "A green marker indicates a 'real' IMAX screen, a red exclamation mark indicates a 'fake' IMAX screen."

6ca4/1242249826-picture_1.png

(The two "real" IMAX screens in that image are at OMSI and McMinnville's Evergreen Aviation Museum—neither of which show feature films that are released in IMAX, like The Dark Knight or Star Trek.)

Naturally, IMAX is defending their shady practice, but they're doing so with some not-very-convincing logic.

“IMAX did 15 percent of Star Trek’s total domestic box office in the whole country on only 138 screens… This is compared to the earlier releases of Watchmen, where we did 12 percent of the box office and Monsters and Aliens, where we did around 10 percent. Clearly a lot of people are going back to IMAX theaters… The overwhelming majority of comments on [Ansari]’s blog this morning, more than 90 percent of them, are vehemently disagreeing with him. And consumers are confirming this with their continued purchases of tickets."

That's from IMAX head honcho Richard Gelfond. Wow, did I really just say "head honcho"? God I suck. Apologies. Anyway, as FilmDrunk points out:

So… if a product is making money, that’s proof you don’t have to tell people what it is before they buy it? That’d be like if I paid your mom for sex and half the time got a handjob. And then you used a statistic about increased handjobs to prove that sex is the same thing as handjob. Guess what, my friend, it’s not. It’s not even good foreplay.

The whole thing continues, with Ansari now "publicly challenging IMAX CEO Richard Gelfond to go on television and debate this issue with me," but really, all you need to know is that going out to Bridgeport Village and paying extra to see IMAX is a ripoff, and maybe, just maybe, IMAX will get nailed by this bad publicity, and maybe, just maybe, it'll stop them from charging people IMAX prices for non-IMAX presentations. Probably not, though. Oh, and you also need to know that when he's not shouting "You know what Twitter is?", Ansari is a really fucking funny guy. Human Giant? Very highly recommended.

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