Big ‘Apollo’ lift off

Grazer, Howard feel intensity of pic's enlargement

HOLLYWOOD — There were dual launches when U premed “Apollo 13: The Imax Experience” at CityWalk Thursday: the pic itself and Imax Digital Re-mastering’s first feature application.

Imax co-CEO Brad Wechsler said he believes the pics chosen for DMR enlargement (the process costs between $2 million and $4 million) should have “something that makes them an epic,” not comedies or intimate dramas.

“We’re not going to do ‘My Dinner With Andre,’ ” Wechsler said.

The co-topper said the ideal situation would be to someday “leverage off the huge marketing spend” of an action event film and have the 35mm and Imax releases the same day and date.

The DMR effect was a hit with the “Apollo 13” filmmakers. Producer Brian Grazer said he thought the enlargement “intensified the emotional narrative of the movie.” Director Ron Howard said that while mega-screen projection “in a verbal thing would crash into you and drive you crazy,” it worked with “Apollo 13” with its ballistic launch and explosion shots, plus the magnification “picks up the details on the edges.”

“We were so detailed on getting the props right,” the helmer said. “And you know 99% won’t register. But here 50% registers. It makes for a richer experience.”

Among those at liftoff were U’s Barry Diller, Ron Meyer and Marc Shmuger; Imax’s Rich Gelfond and Greg Foster; stars Tom Hanks, Gary Sinise, Kathleen Quinlan and Clint Howard; plus guests David Foster, Steve Valentine and Maria Conchita Alonso.

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