Among the many ways in which Expos have been at the forefront of innovations in public entertainment, the worldwide début of IMAX cinema at Expo 1970 Osaka is one of the most significant.
Developed by a team of Canadian filmmakers to revolutionise the visual impact of cinema, the IMAX system – named for ‘Image Maximum’ – makes use of higher resolution frames to offer crystal-clear images on larger than ever screens. The technique was used for the world’s first IMAX cinema screening in the Fuji Pavilion at Expo 1970 Osaka. The film shown to visitors was ‘Tiger Child’, specially produced for the Expo with 65mm film.
A runaway success with visitors, the film screening offered the public an awe-inspiring immersive experience, combining maximum visual impact and advanced sound systems with a moving platform to carry spectators around the theatre.
Having successfully implemented the technology at Expo 1970, the creators of IMAX went on to open the first permanent IMAX theatre in Toronto the following year. The concept proved to be a hit at many following Expos, including Expo 1974 Spokane, where the sensational environmental film ‘Man Belongs to Earth’ was screened.
The Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) is the intergovernmental organisation in charge of overseeing and regulating World Expos, Specialised Expos, Horticultural Expos and the Triennale di Milano.