PacSci Perspectives

IMAX Movies: Inspiring Generations

by | Jun 13, 2016

As children, Ben Wong and his siblings were over the moon whenever their dad took them to Pacific Science Center’s IMAX® Theater. “No easy feat to wrangle five energetic kids,” Wong says, “But we were enchanted, watching enormous lumbering insects, things soaring, things erupting.”

“My family was poor, but my parents always wanted to make sure we received the best education they could give,” Wong says, so they invested in a Pacific Science Center Membership. Wong’s father, Victor, “knew learning could be enjoyable and entertainment could be educational; after all, he learned to speak English from the John Wayne movies he watched in Manila.”

Wong’s father immigrated to the U.S. in 1963 the year after the World’s Fair, enrolling at the University of Washington where he met and married a beautiful philosophy major. Then came five children. Many weekends, they took the bus from their White Center home to the Science Center. “Once there, we’d break free from our parents and run from exhibit to exhibit,” Wong says. “It was like going to Disneyland.” Favorite memories: The IMAX movie To Fly! paired with a Gossamer Albatross (human-powered airplane) exhibit and demos on folding paper airplanes.

Now 43, with advanced degrees in computer science, Wong is still a proud card-carrying Member of the Science Center. Soon after we opened the doors of our newly renovated Boeing IMAX Theater, one of the most technologically advanced movie theaters in the world with comfy race-car red seats and the biggest screen in Washington state, Wong invited his 72-year-old father to enjoy a movie together. It was a wonderful opportunity, Wong says,”to remind him of the good childhood he gave me.”

We were the first science center and third theater in the world to showcase IMAX’s next-generation 4K laser projection system. The system was designed for the world’s largest screens including ours—the largest in the state of Washington. This groundbreaking technology increases brightness and contrast, producing astonishingly vivid colors. Twelve discrete channels plus sub-bass in the new sound system complete the immersive experience. Our two IMAX theaters ignite curiosity about the world and the revenues support science education.

IMAX® is a registered trademark of IMAX Corporation.