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RPX vs IMAX: Key Differences between the theatre formats

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RPX and IMAX are two movie theatre formats that movie lovers and enthusiasts have heard and experienced. Both promise incredible sound and visuals but also differ in terms of screen size, projectors, sound system, seating and ticket price, among others.

In this article, we will compare RPX and IMAX formats based on different parameters so that you can get a clear idea about which one of these two is best for you.

Here’s what we will cover:

What is RPX?

RPX is an acronym for Regal Premium Experience and is a luxury option with only one thing in mind — viewer comfort.

These cinema halls offer digital projectors and the best sound systems including Dolby Atmos. As these halls offer an elite experience, the main focus is also on the seating. You will get a spacious seating facility with more than enough leg room, leather covering, and other accessories such as cosy headrests.

As the seating is quite awesome, the RPX halls are more suitable for art films where the dialogues are intense and long.

Also read: PCM vs Bitstream: Key differences between the audio formats

What is IMAX?

IMAX stands for Image Maximum, a type of cinema format that is best known for its massive screen displays and often shows movies in 3D. IMAX cinemas use dual 2K/4K laser projectors and 12-channel sound systems, which create wider sound systems, which create a wider curved screen and enveloping sound.

IMAX screens can be up to 177.3 ft wide, which is much larger than conventional screens or even RPX screens. This means that IMAX cinemas can transport you into the movie with a more immersive experience. IMAX is ideal for action-packed movies and nature documentaries, where the visuals and sound are more important than the dialogue.

Also read: XD vs IMAX: Which is the better theatre experience?

RPX vs IMAX: Key differences

What is IMAX? Should you spend the extra bucks to watch IMAX movies?

In this section, we will examine key differences between the RPX and IMAX formats based on different parameters:

Screen size

The screen size is probably the most important difference between the two formats. As RPX is more focused on viewer comfort, it uses a smaller screen measuring 40 feet by 60 feet while the IMAX screens can be huge — up to 177.2 feet by 96 feet with an aspect ratio of 1:90:1 to 1:45:1.

IMAX screens are also curved and offer an expansive viewing experience and can make the viewers believe that they are a part of the film.


Another major difference between RPX and IMAX is the type of projector they use. The IMAX theatres use 2K/4K laser projectors thus showcasing brighter and sharper images. These theatres are also quite useful for showing 3D films as it is easy to switch between 2D and 3D films on these projectors.

On the other hand, RPX Cinema uses digital 4 K projectors with high-resolution displays, which are also better than conventional projectors. These projectors can offer a contrast ratio of 1850:1. RPX projectors can also show 2D and 3D movies, but they might not be as smooth or clear as IMAX projectors.

Sound system

The third distinguishing feature between RPX and IMAX is the sound system they use. RPX uses 7.1-channel audio systems in most countries like Dolby Atmos and Aurus. The former is used in most countries and the latter is used in Europe.

RPX theatres also have a sound system under each seat creating a unique sound bubble on each seat.

On the other hand, IMAX uses a 12-channel sound system complimented by 15,000-watt overhead speakers thereby creating a sound immersion in the whole space. Therefore, IMAX cinema offers quite an interesting experience, especially during action movies.


Seating is probably the only sphere where RPX is leading over IMAX. RPX theatres offer leather recliners with extra cushions and accessories. The seats have more space so that the viewer is settled comfortably, stretching the legs and relaxing the head.

On the other hand, the IMAX cinemas also have premium seating options but the seats are not as good as RPX ones. You may get a bit less leg space and not-so-comfortable recliners in IMAX. However, the USP here is the screen and overhead speakers and the seats are not the primary concern.

Ticket price

You should understand that both RPX and IMAX cinema formats are more expensive than traditional cinemas. The ticket price often cannot be compared as it depends on a lot of factors including the film format (2D/3D), time of the day, and the day of the week.

However, generally, IMAX offers a more expensive ticket than RPX but this is subject to change based on individual theatres in different states or countries.


Both the theatre formats are suited for some specific kinds of movies. For example, IMAX is best situated for action movies with loud sounds, incredible video footage and scenic shots. IMAX, with a larger screen, enhances the viewing experience of the audience.

On the other hand, RPX is suited best for art movies where dialogue takes precedence more than action. One recent such movie was Oppenheimer.

Viewing type

The final point of differentiation between the RPX and IMAX is the viewing type. Both formats support 3D films. However, IMAX offers MX4D movies combining 4D physical effects and 3D experience. While watching movies in this format, you will feel like a part of the movie.

Furthermore, IMAX uses passive polarized glasses which split an image into two parts and juxtapose them on one other thereby creating 3D imagery.

RPX also offer a 3D format for its audience but does not offer MX4D technology. The glasses here are also different. These glasses use the active shutter technology that is synchronized with the projector to offer a 3D viewing experience.

Screen size40 feet by 60 feet (smaller, focused on viewer comfort)Up to 177.2 feet by 96 feet, curved screens, expansive viewing experience
ProjectorsDigital 4K projectors, contrast ratio of 1850:1, 2D and 3D capability2K/4K laser projectors, brighter and sharper images, easy switch between 2D and 3D
Sound system7.1-channel audio systems (Dolby Atmos and Aurus), sound system under each seat12-channel sound system, 15,000-watt overhead speakers, immersive audio experience
SeatingLeather recliners, extra cushions, more spacePremium seating options, less leg space compared to RPX, emphasis on screen and speakers
Ticket priceGenerally less expensive than IMAXGenerally more expensive than RPX, subject to individual theaters and factors
GenresSuited for art movies, dialogue-focusedGenerally more expensive than RPX, subject to individual theatres and factors
Viewing type3D format, active shutter technology for glassesMX4D movies with 4D physical effects, 3D experience, passive polarized glasses

Also read: Nvidia 3090 vs 4090: Key Differences

RPX vs IMAX: Which one should you choose?

Image by Alfred Derks from Pixabay

If budget isn’t a problem, you can go for either RPX or IMAX theatre. However, based on the above parameters, here are some things that you should keep in mind:

  • Consider the movie that you want to watch: As explained earlier, if you are planning to watch a visually stunning or action-packed movie, you might prefer IMAX. If the movie is dialogue-packed or emotional, you should consider RPX.
  • Consider your comfort level: RPX offers more comfort than IMAX. So, choose the former if you want a truly elite viewing experience. For a larger-than-life movie screen, go for IMAX.
  • Consider the crowd: Usually, IMAX theatres are more crowded than the RPX ones. If you want a movie where the crowd is less, go for RPX.

At the end of the day, it is your personal preference that matters the most and we hope that with this article, you have learned and understood the key differences between RPX and IMAX.

Also read: Dell Precision vs Latitude vs Inspiron: What’s the difference? 

Kumar Hemant

Kumar Hemant

Deputy Editor at Candid.Technology. Hemant writes at the intersection of tech and culture and has a keen interest in science, social issues and international relations. You can contact him here: