December 17, 2010
City leaders say a grand opening Friday could be the beginning of a new level of tourism in Wichita. The new Warren IMAX is promising to draw visitors from across the region.
Crowds lined up outside the theater Friday morning in anticipation of the first public showing of Disney's "Tron Legacy." The theater had already sold out for the night before it even opened its doors.
With a screen six stories tall, and seating for 600 people, the theater is said to be bigger and better than any other IMAX in the country.
"I don't want them to just come in and say 'it was nice,' I want them to come and say, 'oh my gosh, I can't believe this,'" said owner Bill Warren.
It's an experience taking even the Mayor by surprise.
"It's almost like you're in the movie, so you find yourself bobbing and weaving and really getting into it," said Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer.
But city leaders say it's bringing more than just adventure to Wichita, they say the world-class theater has potential to be the most popular tourist attraction in the state. That's why city leaders say they granted Warren tax relief to help pay for the multimillion dollar project.
"He could have gone to any other city in the United States and he chose us, and we're extremely fortunate to be able to have it," said Brewer.
Out of all of his projects, Warren calls it his best yet.
"You know we're always looking at how to top it and do even better, and this is definitely the next step up. I mean this is like supercharged," said Warren.
The IMAX will cost $2 extra, over the price of a normal ticket, for adults, and $1 extra for children.