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Downtown Raleigh, Exploris Set Their Sights on IMAX Theatre

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RALEIGH — Imagine watching a movie on a screen four stories tall! If Raleigh and Wake County leaders approve funding, downtown Raleigh may soon have an advanced IMAX theater.

The giant screen theater would be one of two proposed in the Triangle; the other would be located at the newSouthpoint Mall in Durham County.

Workers are putting the finishing touches onExploris, due to open in October. If all goes according to plan, two years from now visitors will sit in a state-of-the-art 2-D and 3-D IMAX theater and watch the wonders of the world.

Movies will be selected for their educational value.

"There will be films that focus on areas of the world like the Amazon, Africa, Everest, for example," says Exploris president Anne Bryan.

More than 2,000 Wake County students traveled last year to Charlotte, the location of the nearest giant screen theater, to watch such films.

"Really, you feel you're there, you're touching it. You're a part of the action when you're watching an IMAX film," says Brown.

The proposed 275-seat theater would sit adjacent to Exploris and show some of the most exciting images ever created on the biggest film in existence.

Each frame of film is ten times the size of a standard movie frame. Everything about IMAX is big, including the reels of film.

"T-Rex"lumbering off the screen in 3-D will likely bring lots of visitors to Raleigh.

"It's going to have a significant impact on downtown, because it gives us one more reason to come to Raleigh if you're a resident of North Carolina or surrounding states," says Errol Frailey, Downtown Raleigh Alliance president.

Exploris is close to signing a deal with IMAX; however funding for the $10 million project is yet to be worked out.

Backers of the IMAX theater hope city and county leaders will approve funding from the hotel-motel and food and beverage tax.


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