Estimates are being made that Iron Man 3 will take in north of $150 million at the box office this weekend as it finally opens up on over 3500 screens in North America. Having already blown past the $200 million mark in Europe, this seems to be a safe bet and it looks like money in the bank for Marvel Films and Paramount Pictures.
You’ll have plenty of opportunities to see the film in the area, what with the Savoy 16 opening it on seven screens alone. However, there are three unique options that, depending on what you’re looking for in a movie-going experience, could very well enhance the experience of taking in Tony Stark’s latest adventure.
Of course all the buzz in town surrounds the opening of the long-awaited IMAX screen at the Savoy 16 (http://www.gqti.com/theaters.aspx?theaterid=1476). Measuring 52 feet high and 72 feet across (that’s roughly five stories tall by seven stories wide) the screen at this venue is massive by any standards and features state of the art digital stereo as well as the 500 plush high back rocking chairs. It simply doesn’t get any more cutting-edge than this. And not only will Iron Man 3 be much larger than life in this format but the superhero will seem to be literally in your lap as it will be presented in 3-D as well. To be sure, this will be a unique experience but be ready to pay for it, as tickets are $16.
If your taste runs more towards the classic cinemas of yesterday, then take the short drive north on I-57 to Exit 280 and take a hard right towards downtown Onarga. There you will find the Onarga Theater (http://onargatheater.com), a quaint 205-seat auditorium that provides an intimate, old-fashioned aesthetic in which you can enjoy a state-of-the-art, filmpresentation. Built in 1937, the Art Moderne style venue was the first movie theater south of Chicago to show talkies.
Though the theater has changed hands over the years, each owner has managed to retain the building’s charm while keeping current with the latest in technological innovations. Outfitted with a surround sound stereo system in 2010, the Onarga is currently raising funds so that it might be outfitted with a new digital projector so that it can continue to provide the latest films in a classic venue well into the 21st century.
Of course, if you’re looking for a family outing, nothing beats heading to the Harvest Moon Drive-In in Gibson City (www.harvestmoondrivein.com). With its new HD digital projection system, the quality of the images shown on the venue’s two screens is said to be 4x better than a high-end HD-TV. To be sure, there’s no better place to take the crew to see a film like Iron Man 3 than the Harvest Moon as the atmosphere is kid-friendly, as the little ones can run around and wear themselves out before getting ready to snuggle under a warm blanket in the back of an open van to watch a movie under the stars. And with real butter on their fresh-made popcorn and Green River soda readily available, how can you go wrong?
While it might not be readily apparent, having such different options to choose from to take in a film is one of the advantages of living in the Champaign area and one that shouldn't be taken for granted. So do yourself a favor this weekend and take in Iron Man 3 at one of these venues. Once you do, going back to the bland shoebox style theaters simply won't do.