Should You View AVATAR in IMAX 3D or RealD This Summer?

Avatar-poster-art With AVATAR coming back to selected theaters this summer, many fans will face and important decision about where to see the 3D-film. Is it better to see the movie AVATAR in IMAX3D or RealD 3D? The differences between RealD 3D and IMAX 3D are not huge, but they are important.Here's what you need to know.

Guest post by Ty Wingfoot

With the planned re-release of AVATAR in theatres this August, now might be the best time to decide if watching AVATAR in IMAX 3D or RealD 3D is the best way to go. With more 3D movies to come, including a sequel to AVATAR, knowing the best venue will improve your overall 3D experience in the future. AVATAR is more than just a CGI intensive movie: the movie was planned and created as a 3D experience. IMAX and RealD both have their advantages and their place, but as you will be investing your time and money into seeing this three hour flick, you need to consider which one to take advantage of, rather than just guessing.


IMAX has been around longer than RealD as a technology and venue to watch 3D films. Most major cities have at least one IMAX theater, but many smaller cities and other countries do not have IMAX theaters. Most IMAX locations, even though they may be in your area, may not be as conveniently located as your local theater. When deciding whether to watch AVATAR in IMAX 3D or RealD 3D you should decide what type of experience you want to have.

IMAX has a much bigger screen and the technology works to have more things pop off the screen, providing more of that ‘really cool’ experience. However, because of IMAX limitations, you may have to hold your head just right to get the best picture and some details can be lost in dark and fast action scenes. Most of the IMAX screens are analog, and only last year did they start using digital screens which are a good bit smaller than the analog screens. Because of the eye popping effects that IMAX 3D offers, it can be more taxing to watch. Watching the nearly three hour AVATAR in IMAX 3D may be a bit much for some people. If you really want the AVATAR extreme experience, IMAX is more likely to provide it. IMAX glasses are a bit more uncomfortable though.

RealD 3D

RealD 3D is the new kid on the block, but many theaters now have RealD 3D. If you live in a smaller town you probably only have one option, so choosing to watch AVATAR in IMAX 3D or RealD may have been settled for you. If you have a choice or are willing to drive for the best experience, you will want to consider that RealD 3D is crisper and better for seeing details and action than IMAX. The Real3D glasses are also nicer and fit well over regular eyeglasses. RealD 3D does still have realistic 3D effects, it just takes place more in the screen than off of it.

3D vs. 3D – Which One Is Best?

Whether you should watch AVATAR in IMAX 3D or RealD 3D largely depends on what you expect. If you have seen it one way and have the time and money, try it the other way. If you have yet to see AVATAR and just want to find out what it’s all about, go for the IMAX theater, as long as you don’t have any health conditions. If you are a highly detailed person, go for the RealD 3D, even if you have seen it before because you’ll likely see more details this time. And if you're worried that 3D might give you dizziness or vertigo, choose a seat as far in the back of the theater and as close to the center as possible to limit any queasiness you may experience during more 3D intensive scenes.

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Will you go to the theaters to see the re-release of AVATAR when it comes – or only if there is extra footage released?



I'll be there either way, i can't wait to see it on the big screen again. But i really look forward to the new footage, of course. The new footage makes the decision a no brainer, it's a must see. I hope the release isn't too limited though, it better be playing near me.


YES! I loved watching AVATAR in the theaters and I miss watching it so much! I can't wait!


I miss watching the movie on the 'big screen', too. I cannot wait for the re-release, hope it is not just gossip.

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