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It's Attack of the 10-Story-High Clones

Movies: Imax will show a remastered 'Star Wars: Episode II.' The film's original digital format helps in enlargement.

September 13, 2002|P.J. HUFFSTUTTER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Coming to a gigantic screen near you: Imax Corp. and Lucasfilm Ltd. entered into a joint agreement to digitally remaster and re-release "Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones."

It's the first time Imax has used its proprietary technology on a film shot using digital cameras--a distinction that helped retain the look and feel of the original movie, even when it's been blown up to fit the huge screen.

"With 'Episode II,' we were working with all the data of the original print," said Brian Bonnick, senior vice president of technology for Imax. "It helped that we weren't working with an image that had already degraded."

The film, distributed by 20th Century Fox, will hit Imax theaters in North America on Nov. 1.

Until recently, Imax dealt almost exclusively in science or nature movies specifically shot for the company on film much larger than the 35-millimeter standard. But in an effort to expand its appeal, Imax has pushed to convert popular feature films to its larger format.

It's a conversion process that typically costs about $3 million, but that sum could be significantly reduced with newer technology, Imax executives said.

Imax had worked with Walt Disney Co. to convert "Fantasia 2000" and "Beauty and the Beast" to its proprietary format, which offers images on screens up to 10 stories tall.

And the Oscar-winning "Apollo 13" will be re-released on the really big screen this month. The 1995 hit is the first 35-mm live-action film to be digitally remastered into the Imax format.

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