‘Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol’ to initially debut only in IMAX

Attempting to bring back a “level of showmanship” to the opening of major Hollywood films, director Brad Bird has announced that “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol” will open five days earlier than its December 21st release date – but only in IMAX theaters.

According to Bird in an interview he gave to the LA Times’ Hero Complex, Paramount is currently putting the finishing touches on a deal that will see the highly-anticipated sequel debut in over 200 IMAX theaters around the country on December 16th (as well as a few “prestige” theaters). 25 action-heavy minutes of the film were reportedly shot in the large-screen format after Bird convinced the studio to let him do it.

“The meaning of  ‘first run’ is gone now because on opening day you can see a brand new movie on a good screen but it”s more likely you”ll see it on a crappy screen,” Bird told Hero Complex writer Jeff Boucher, who was treated by the director to a few minutes of footage from the film during their meeting. “It used to be that when a movie opened, if you wanted to see it early, you had to see it great. To me, the best example of showmanship now is IMAX. I pushed to shoot in IMAX, and Paramount went along with me, so we filmed a good chunk of this movie in IMAX, which is a pain in the butt. The cameras are big and they”re noisy. But the image quality – you can”t get that any other way … you really feel it when it”s in IMAX.”

Bird also denigrates the 3-D format somewhat in the interview, saying he feels that the 3-D image, while “immersive” (a favorite Hollywood buzz word used to sell audiences on the format), is ultimately compromised a bit too much to his liking.

“To me, 3-D is really interesting, and there”s been some good films,” said the director, best known for helming the Pixar blockbusters “Ratatouille” and “The Incredibles”. “I”m as big a fan of ‘Avatar’ as anybody, but what is not discussed often is the power of a really, really, really big screen. Part of the pitch of 3-D has always been “It”s more immersive.” And I agree that added depth perception is immersive, but you dim the image down and now I”m talking step back. You put on glasses and now I”m taking another step back.”

It’s quite a refreshing take on the industry from the Oscar-winning filmmaker, and I encourage you to click on over and read the full piece if you get a chance.