IMAX VS Cinemark XD: Everything Explained (Table Included)

Like IMAX, Cinemark XD is also a popular movie format. XD stands for “Extreme Digital Cinema”, while IMAX stands for “Image Maximum”.

Cinemark has emerged with improved audio-visual systems and enhanced seating. Cinemark has the same screen size and resolution as IMAX.

But, there are some very notable differences between both. Cinemark cinemas are designed to play any format.

Therefore, you can watch 2D, 3D RealD, Digital, D-Box, XD, and even IMAX films in Cinemark XD theaters. Generally, IMAX plays only the films shot in IMAX format.

That’s not enough about these two theater technologies. There is much more to explore about both Cinemark XD and IMAX.

IMAX VS Cinemark XD

This article will tell you everything about both of these film technologies. We will consider the differences, similarities, merits, demerits, specifications, costs, and all other things.

This guide will also tell you that either IMAX or Cinemark XD is better to enjoy movies. So, keep reading this article till the end.

What is Digital Movie Format?

Both IMAX and Cinemark can play a Digital movie which is the best movie format. But, before proceeding further, let us understand something about the Digital movie format.

In both true IMAX and Cinemark XD theaters, Digital movies give the best experience. Digital movies are recorded on a hard drive instead of a film stock.

So, they are protected from scratching and wearing out. Consequently, the image clarity, brightness, and color accuracy are perfect.

In addition, they do not create clacking noises to disturb the audience. Instead of traditional film projectors, Digital video projectors are used in a Digital cinema.

IMAX vs Cinemark XD: A Brief Introduction and History

Cinemark Holding, Inc. is an American theater chain that emerged in 1984 and it introduced the Cinemark XD film format in 2009.

In fact, this film format emerged in response to IMAX and competed with it. Both Cinemark and IMAX previously agreed to bring the IMAX technology into their cinemas with mutual cooperation.

But, Cinemark launched its film format independently. IMAX was founded in 1967 by a Canadian Theater Company-IMAX Corporation.

This film format gained popularity at the beginning of the 21st century. When Disney decided to release ‘Fantasia 2000’ only in IMAX cinemas.

Now, IMAX is not just the name of theater technology but also film format. A great number of movies have been shot with IMAX cameras.

There are more than 1500 IMAX theaters around the world and they are available in more than 80 countries.

Related: Is IMAX Worth It?

A Detailed Comparison of IMAX vs Cinemark XD

A side-by-side comparison of both Cinemark and IMAX will provide you with enough knowledge.

We will review the screen, audio system, movie experience, infrastructure, and technology used in both theater setups.

1. Screen Specifications

The IMAX screen is the biggest known theater screen. It is 70-100 feet tall and almost 53 feet wide. The aspect ratio of the screen is 1.90:1 which gives a giant view.

The largest IMAX screen is present in Sydney, Australia as of 2016. It is 117 feet tall and provides a real immersive effect. Cinemark XD screen is roughly the same size as IMAX.

Their screen expands from wall to wall and from ceiling to floor. Moreover, Barco 4K Digital projectors are used in XD cinemas.

They can produce 35 trillion colors on a screen of 70 feet. Like IMAX, the screen in Cinemark XD cinemas is also 70 feet tall and covers the entire front wall of the theater.

2. Sound System

They use an 11.1 multi-channel surround sound system. The sound system is a JBL custom that delivers crystal clear and Digital sound.

Cinemark is also using Barco and Auro sound solutions. These are some of the best sound system providers. The intention is to produce crystal clear audio with a real immersive effect.

On the other hand, IMAX uses a 12-channel surround sound system. The audio is enveloping and crystal clear.

The speakers are adjusted at an accurate angle so the audience feels immersed in the scene as well as in the dialogue.

3. Infrastructure

Cinemark XD theaters are beautifully constructed and designed. They are newly built and look better than IMAX theaters. The cinemas are larger and more spacious.

Carpets and walls have unique colors. The air conditioning quality is also better.

If you are going to the real IMAX, it has a very comfortable environment. The theater is spacious and has multiple storeys.

4. Seats and Comfortability

Luxurious Cinemark cinemas contain larger recliner seats with headrests, footrests, and cup holders. Some Cinemark XD cinemas are equipped with D-Box seats.

Moreover, the seats in XD cinemas are rocking leather seats. They provide you with a hyper-real 3D movie experience. The seats move with the scenes and you feel immersed in the movie.

IMAX also provides padded and comfortable seats. The seats are placed closer to the screen and at the height of the screen. Each viewer faces the screen directly to get the maximum out of the movie.

All this exists in a real and true IMAX. However, there are Lie-IMAX that are not up to the mark.

5. Theater Technology

The projectors used in Cinemark XD are 4K as compared to IMAX which uses 2K projectors. The movies that are created in 4K format are better to watch on XD screen.

Because this screen gives a higher resolution than IMAX. IMAX uses a special 70mm film format that is 9 times larger than traditional formats of 35mm.

The latest IMAX cinemas use laser projection technology. It gives outstanding color contrast and accuracy, brightness, and higher resolution.

6. 3D Movie Experience

Cinemark XD cinemas are engineered by experts and according to the film standards. It utilizes Digital stereoscopic technology to project 3D scenes on a huge screen.

They are also capable of displaying RealD 3D movies. In addition, 2D and other Digital formats are also supported by XD cinemas.

However, all movies are not shown in 3D format and it depends on the type of the film. These screens are also used in auditoriums, concerts, Fathom events, live sports, etc.

While IMAX technology is also used in stadiums, concerts, and, home theaters. It plays in 3D technology and surpasses Cinemark in watch experience.

Related: IMAX VS Dolby Cinema

7. Prices and Tickets

Compared to normal cinemas, IMAX and Cinemark both are expensive. But, they are worth the price.

You can buy a Cinemark ticket for $13 to $17. While IMAX will cost you $20 on average. The price of the ticket depends on the region and location of the cinema.

IMAX vs Cinemark XD: Comparison and Contrast Table

Comparison ParametersIMAXCinemark XD
Key DifferenceTrue IMAX theaters have largest screen with higher resolution and play IMAX film formats only.The screen size is same like true IMAX but theater quality is much improved. It plays every film format including the IMAX itself.
Screen DisplayA 70-100 feet tall screen with 1.90:1 aspect ratio. Dome shaped huge screen stretches from wall to wall and ceiling to floor.It also has 70 feet tall screen that stretch across the giant wall just like an IMAX theater.
Image QualityHigher resolution, bright display, and accurate colors. The image is crystal clear and 3-dimensional.Improved brightness and clarity. It is capable of producing 35 trillion colors. Both 2D and 3D movies can be watched in XD cinemas.
Sound SystemA 12-channel surround sound system including perfectly organized speakers. An 11.1 multi channel audio system and also incorporates Barco and Auro audio technologies. The surround sound is experience is better than IMAX.
TechnologyIt uses 2K or 4K dual laser projectors and 70mm film format. It uses Digital stereoscopic technology and 4K laser projectors.
InfrastructureThe seats are adjusted at height and closer to the screen. Seats are padded and comfortable. Seats are luxurious and spacious. They contain footrests, headrests, and are leather recliners. The cinema is embellished and brand new.
CostTrue IMAX costs almost $2 extra than Cinemark. Lie-IMAX may cost higher but will give poor movie experience.It costs less than true IMAX. The cost difference also depends on location.

IMAX or Cinemark XD, Which is Better?

IMAX plays only the movies and films that are produced in IMAX format. On the other hand, Cinemark XD can play any movie created in any format.

It can also release films produced in IMAX format such as ‘Avengers’ and ‘Prometheus’. They also play regular movies by expanding them in Digital formats like Snow White.

However, the normal 2D movies cost you $3 extra in XD cinemas. A movie produced in IMAX format does not give the best results in XD theaters as it is unable to fill the entire screen.

Cinemark XD is better than normal or analog IMAX theaters. Because they have bigger and brighter screens as well as improved sound quality.

But, the movie experience in a Cinemark XD theater cannot be compared to true IMAX. IMAX Digital is an excellent theater to watch educational and nature movies.

Because sceneries and nature panoramas are displayed best in 3D. The cost difference between IMAX and Cinemark is negligible.

A regular 3D cinema costs just $1 less than XD. While IMAX Digital costs only $2 more than Cinemark XD.

Related: IMAX VS 4DX

Final Words

If you cannot access a true and real IMAX theater then it is better to go to a Cinemark XD cinema. But, remember, Cinemark also has many other formats.

Only Cinemark XD gives the movie experience just like a true IMAX. Because it has the same large screen, higher resolution, and screen brightness.

While a Lie or Fake IMAX has a traditional screen with normal size. The brightness, color accuracy, and 3D effect are also compromised.

So, a movie is not worth watching in fake IMAX. The cost difference is also trivial, Cinemark XD is a little cheaper than IMAX. However, we recommend True IMAX over Cinemark XD.

So, keeping in view all these factors and specifications, you can choose between IMAX or Cinemark XD according to your personal preferences.

Hi, I'm Memona Aman, Editor of I am naturally inclined towards modern technical gadgets. I love to research on speakers and soundbars. I write articles on this blog to share my latest knowledge. I am happy to assist you in your search for the best audio devices. Read more about me
Hi, I'm Memona Aman, Editor of I am naturally inclined towards modern technical gadgets. I love to research on speakers and soundbars. I write articles on this blog to share my latest knowledge. I am happy to assist you in your search for the best audio devices. Read more about me

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