In a surprising turn of events, the World Golf Hall of Fame IMAX theater, home to the largest IMAX screen in North Florida, has announced that it will extend its closing date through the month of September, defying its original plan to shut its doors on September 1st.
The decision comes amidst uncertainty regarding the property’s future, as St. Johns County commissioners have yet to outline a clear plan for the iconic venue, which has been a local attraction since its opening in 1998.
The theater’s 80-foot-wide and 50-foot-high screen has been a unique draw, distinguishing it as the sole legitimate IMAX screen in Northeast Florida predating the 2008 shift towards digital projectors in common multiplexes. The World Golf IMAX also ranks as the second-largest screen in the entire state of Florida.
Visitors will now have the opportunity to enjoy screenings at the World Golf IMAX throughout the full month of September, as the venue seeks to extend its presence in the community ahead of the planned relocation of the World Golf Hall of Fame to Pinehurst, North Carolina.
In an effort to entice film enthusiasts and engage with the local community, the World Golf IMAX is hosting free documentary showings throughout the weekend, concluding on Tuesday, September 5.
The theater released a statement saying “Thank you for choosing to join us at World Golf Hall of Fame IMAX Theater for your Documentary and Hollywood movie entertainment. As the World Golf Hall of Fame Museum prepares for a relocated visitor experience in Pinehurst, NC, we have extended our IMAX show scheduling through the month of September.”
The World Golf IMAX will be closing its doors to the public on October 1st. The equipment (movie screen and audio/visual components) will remain in the building after closure.
Did you hear the good news? The IMAX is staying open for a limited time! We are showing documentaries for free all weekend long until Tuesday 9/5! For more, visit: https://t.co/z9mqBSSHlt pic.twitter.com/GgglD2WJrz
— World Golf IMAX® (@WorldGolfIMAX) September 2, 2023
Meanwhile, a glimmer of hope has emerged from the local theater scene. Sun Ray Cinema, a historic theater in the region, proposed the idea on social media a few months ago of taking over the IMAX facility to ensure the preservation of the state’s second-largest film screen beyond its scheduled closure.
Sun Ray Cinema discussed the possibility of installing a 70MM projector. A projection of 70MM film is a wide high-resolution film that is nearly 350% higher resolution than film traditional formats, the equivalent of around 18k, compared to only 4k of digital cinemas. The only and largest IMAX to show 70MM films in Florida is the Museum of Discovery and Science in Fort Lauderdale.
The cinema has established a website where concerned individuals can send direct messages to St. Johns County commissioners, expressing their desire to safeguard the iconic IMAX experience. Click HERE to visit their site.
The ultimate fate of the World Golf properties, including the IMAX theater, lies in the hands of the Board of County Commissioners, who must navigate the complex decision-making process surrounding this cherished IMAX theater.
A community solicitation meeting will be held on September 27 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., and on September 28 from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. at the St. Johns County Administration Auditorium.
A public survey is available for community members to fill out until September 30. It can be located HERE.
Those looking to provide input of their own on the soon-to-be-available space can do so by visiting the St. Johns County website.
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