'Welcome to the MAX' - in 70mm IMAX® & IMAX®Dome (short version)
In a whimsical parody of the adventure sci-fi genre, an intrepid space explorer earns his stripes by journeying to the far side of the universe and a planet known as "Eart." His mission: to learn all he can about "…this mysterious thing, this device called 'Omnimax'." Along the way he discovers the iconic sights, sounds and bigger-than-life spectacle of New York City and the Tri-state region, learns the meaning of freedom, and makes a novel new friend for life.
'Welcome to the Max' is a destination signature film, produced in the Large-Format/Giant-Screen medium and exhibited primarily to lead off a twin-bill show in the world's largest, 400-seat IMAXDome® cinema, the Eastman Kodak OMNIMAX® Theater. Used to attract family visitors to the then new, $50-million science and technology museum, Liberty Science Center—located adjacent to the Statute of Liberty and Ellis Island—and to introduce the Large-Format medium to the New York/New Jersey/ Connecticut market, the film enjoyed an hourly, continuous run of 4+ years, and use thereafter by the IMAX Corporation for sales presentations of its projection equipment and giant-screen cinemas.
The film was conceived and designed from the ground up to be exhibited equally well in both dome and flat-screen theaters, creating an awesome movie-going experience of sight and sound unsurpassed in lifelike quality and epic scale.
Moreover, in an industry sector that at the time was dominated by air and space films and natural history documentaries relying on voice-over narration, ‘Welcome to the Max’ broke new ground as a successful experiment in combining the spectacle of the giant IMAX® screen with engaging humor and a warm heart to provide a human-scaled, emotional connection between the audience and what appears before them on screen. By employing firsts in the medium—such as a theatrically-staged, character-driven plot, professional actors, dialogue, a giant set and startling stunts to tell an off-beat, fictional tale—’Welcome to the Max’ is one of the early films that showed the way to today’s wider use of the IMAX® brand and technology by the Hollywood entertainment industry.
"Without reservation, one of the most innovative, entertaining, and effective films in the medium today." (more) — Max Ary, former President & CEO, ISTC, now the GSCA (Giant Screen Theater Association)
"…[I]gnites exactly the reactions we sought to spark, and more…screams, laughs and gasps…an entertaining embodiment of LSC's most fundamental mission — to give people of all ages and backgrounds the opportunity to experience science in exciting and novel ways. In surveys we conducted, nine out of 10 viewers said they would recommend 'Welcome to the Max' to a friend." (more) — John Marchiony, former Director of Public Affairs and Marketing, Liberty Science Center, Jersey City, NJ
"Rosalini was able to make New York City a glorious 'sight to behold' and translated in the language of film the marketing objectives of their client and sponsors." — Ken Howarth, Executive Vice President Worldwide Sales & Marketing, IMAX Corporation
"Exhilarating…with refreshing humour and emotion that I thank you for personally." — Susan Contos, Theatre & Marketing Manager, Omni Theatre - City West, Perth, Australia
Produced by Rosalini Films. Conceived, directed and co-written by Dugan Rosalini. Full credits and technical here.
RECOGNITION: Screen Magazine’s ‘Director of the Year,’ with specific mention of Rosalini’s innovative work in the giant-screen (IMAX® and OMNIMAX®) medium.
NOTES: The video clip herein crops the top and sides of the full-frame, 70mm/15-perf theater presentation. 'Marto' falling to Earth is a live-action stunt, staged at 10,000 feet over Lower Manhattan. 'Max' and all other special visual effects are practical ones; none are CG, which at the time was economically impractical in the giant-screen/IMAX® medium.
ADDITIONAL WORK IN GIANT-SCREEN: Rosalini followed this project with ‘Implacable,’ another Large-Format production, but this time utilizing an entirely different artistic approach: real-life/real-time, ‘run-and-gun’ documentary filming of a massive, one-hundred-year flood of the Upper Mississippi River and the impact this had on the lives of the people living in its valley and along the river’s tributaries. In keeping up with and recording real-time National Guard airborne and ground-based rescue operations, the film broke new ground in employing a spontaneous, cinéma-vérité approach to filmmaking in the IMAX® medium.
During the production of ‘Implacable',’ Rosalini field-tested the final prototype of the MSM 9802 camera system, since acquired by IMAX Corp. and continuing in use today for films such as Christopher Nolan’s ‘The Dark Night’ and more recently ‘Dunkirk.’
Rosalini also conceived, wrote and produced the Large-Format show opener, ‘Amalgam,’ for the Audubon Nature Institute’s Entergy IMAX Theater located in New Orleans. The main visual component of the film was a one-take, sweeping aerial shot, filmed at sundown and requiring complex, split-second coordination of riverbank extras and the navigation of several vessels. Enjoyed alike by tourists and residents of the region, the words of praise by Audubon’s President and CEO, Ron Forman, sums it up:
“I am impressed by its beauty and message. You have captured the rare patina of our very special city in a way that allows the audience to celebrate New Orleans on a very personal level. Thank you for helping us welcome our guests so warmly.”