Why watch a film on one silver screen when you could have a panoramic, three-screen immersive experience?
The Barco Escape is the latest moviegoing trend, and Sierra Vista Cinemas 16 in Clovis is one of only 30 theaters worldwide to offer it.
Barco Escape uses three cinema projectors and two additional screens to give filmmakers a larger canvas. So far, studios like J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot, Cross Creek Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Minds Eye Entertainment and more have contracted with Barco Escape to produce panoramic versions of upcoming films.
Barco Escape launched in fall 2014, and was placed in Sierra Vista Cinemas 16 last year, said the theater’s general manager, Doug Her. “Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials” was the first Barco Experience film show at the Clovis theater.
“It was received well,” Her sai. “It was a brand new platform at the time and people had different expectations for it.”
This time around, with the release of “Star Trek: Beyond,” Her has received nothing but positive feedback.
“Star Trek takes it up a notch,” Her said. “The film itself is a good film to begin with, and then when you have these breathtaking scenes inserted throughout the movie, I think people are excited to see stuff like that. It looks really good.”
“Star Trek: Beyond” features about 20 minutes of panoramic scenes. The rest of the film is played solely on the auditorium’s main screen. Comparatively, “Maze Runner” had less than 15 minutes of multi-screen content.
“Star Trek” has been the highest grossing film at Sierra Vista since it was released. There are four Barco Escape showtimes, which cost $3 more than a traditional ticket.
“It’s discounted on Tuesday for $8, just like the 3D films, so it’s a great opportunity to come in on the Tuesday and catch the Escape format for $8,” Her said.
All Barco Escape films are shown in auditorium No. 7, which seats 290. The theater only sells up to 250 tickets for those showtimes, however, because guests sitting in the front rows or in some seats on the sides of the auditorium won’t be able to see much of the panoramic content, Her said.
Her has been the theater’s general manager for five years, but has been a part of the company since the theater was built about 10 years ago. He’s excited to see the progress in the industry and that Sierra Vista is keeping up with the latest technology, like Barco Escape.
“We’re very fortunate to have one here in the Central Valley,” he said. “In the movie theater industry we’re always looking for ways to enhance the moviegoing experience for our guests.”
Barco Escape plans to expand operations to more than 100 theaters this year and more than 1,000 theaters in the next five years.
“Our children’s children will probably say, ‘Can you imagine our parents used to go to movie theaters and watch movies on one screen? That’s so sad. Now that we have multiple screens,’” Her said.