I got the chance to take in an advanced screening on Thursday night of Marvel’s new film Doctor Strange, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, at a Dolby Cinema at the AMC Theatres in New York City. Before the movie began, representatives from Dolby gave a presentation demonstrating their Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos technologies, and how their Dolby Total Cinema Experience compares to the standard theater-going experience. And I have to say, I was very impressed. Below are my thoughts on the Dolby Cinema experience and technologies, details from the demonstration, and then my two cents about Doctor Strange itself.
Remember the times before cell phones became a household item. The time when you could go into a theater and get lost in the movie and not have to worry about what was going on outside of the theater. Part of that movie going experience is having the film be entertaining and engaging and take us away from reality, even if it was only for a short time. But now, with many people’s cell phones attached to the hip, it is getting a little bit harder to get lost in that movie when a text alert goes off, or when a phone rings, or when the phone’s volume is so maxed out you can hear their conversation. Then there is the phone’s brightness.
Some have tried to solve that problem by giving friendly reminders that a phone needs to be turned off or at least put on vibrate so that others can enjoy it. It’s not always effective, but it can at least tell the audience that you paid good money to see a movie, why not just ignore your phone for a little bit. Still, there is always that one person. That one person who is going to ruin the movie experience no matter what. So AMC Theatres has found a solution to that: they are basically waving the white flag, and giving up, by experimenting with the possibility of allowing texting during a movie. More on the story below.