RPX vs. IMAX: 7 Key Differences and Full Comparison


RPX vs. IMAX: 7 Key Differences and Full Comparison

In the U.S., watching movies is the most popular form of entertainment. And while watching a movie from the comfort of your home is perfectly okay, most people prefer visiting the cinema for a more immersive cinematic experience. However, the technology requires cinema enthusiasts to choose between watching a movie in RPX vs. IMAX viewing theatres. So, what is an RPX movie? What is IMAX? This article compares the two formats, each with its strengths and weaknesses, similarities and differences. Read on to understand their key differences and to be able to make an informed decision the next time you visit a movie theatre.

RPX vs. IMAX: Side-by-Side Comparison

RPX  vs IMAX comparison infographic


TechnologyUtilizes a larger flat screen combined with digital projection technologyUses a curved and more advanced screen with 2K and 4K laser projection technology
ComfortabilityComes with broader and more comfortable leather seats with extra padding, headrests, high backs, and integrated speakers; the seats also leave enough walking and legroomIMAX has premium reclining seats optimized to provide an exemplary view from every point in the theatre; however, it is less comfortable than RPX
Screen size Has a 40×60 screen size, which is wider but shorter than IMAXA taller and curved screen with an aspect ratio of 1:90:1 to 1:45:1
Video Quality Provides great video qualityProvides detailed, vivid, and crisp pictures with immersive video quality and 3D effect
Sound QualityOperates with a 7.1 channel audio system, an Aurus or Dolby digital system with similar audio quality as a personal theatreOperates a 12-channel advanced Dolby Atmos system, equipped with overhead speakers and enhanced clarity for maximum immersive sound quality
Movie experiencePremium comfort and good 3D effectsPremium sound and video quality with an unmatched immersive experience
AffordabilityRelatively more affordableA little more expensive
Which is betterRPX is a more suited option for every format, such as 2D, 3D, etc.IMAX is ideal for fantasy, sci-fi, and action movies with more scenery than dialogue (however, it is unsuitable for movies that emphasize dialogue, such as romance)

What Is an RPX Movie?

RPX and IMAX are premium movie proprietary systems. The two systems differ in setup, audio system, screen sizes, video capabilities, and more. In addition, each has its own advantages and shortcomings.

What is an RPX movie? RPX is an abbreviation for Regal Premium Experience. It is a theatre experience like IMAX, including immersive sound systems, big screens, and premium laser and digital projectors. RPX falls short of IMAX in image optimization and projection technology.

However, it is still a great experience as it overshadows IMAX with its suitability for all movie formats, including 2D and 3D. Moreover, it is much better than any conventional theatre since it offers premium seating and a large screen. It is best suited for dialogue-focused film genres.

What Is IMAX?

On the other hand, IMAX is a theatre experience with immersive sound and visual systems, curved screens, and laser projectors. It is superior to RPX in projector technology, immersive systems, and image optimization, but falls behind in premium seating and affordability.

Unlike RPX, IMAX is best suited for the 3D format. With its immersive sound and visual capabilities, IMAX presents 3D images in unparalleled brightness and quality. This capability allows you to experience a cinematic experience unlike any other. However, to enjoy this experience, the film has to be action-oriented with stunning views. Hence, IMAX is ideal for science fiction and action films.

RPX vs. IMAX: What’s the Difference?

The RPX vs. IMAX debate is defined by seven key differences, ranging anywhere from comfort to technology to screen size and beyond. Without further ado, let’s dive in.


rpx vs imax
In April 2010, Regal launched Regal Premium Experience (RPX), an upgraded theater format.


Comfort is the predominant criterion for selecting a preferred theatre. In this regard, IMAX theatres fall behind RPX. However, this is not to say that IMAX theatres are uncomfortable, given that they provide comfortable seats with higher backs and premium leather covering.

These premium seats are custom designed to ensure an unobstructed view from any angle. With these specifications, each viewer is assured of an immersive experience despite the seating arrangement.

On the other hand, RPX theatres are a pinnacle of comfort. They prioritize their viewers’ comfort by providing reclining leather back seats with extra padding. These seats are much broader than IMAX’s, with high backs and headrests for extra comfort. Moreover, each seat leaves enough room for viewers to walk around, even when reclined.


IMAX is a forerunner when it comes to technology. Its utilization of a curved larger screen and laser projection produces some of the most incredible pictures. In addition, the curved screen provides 3D video effects that make pictures clear and immersive even with 2D movies.

Furthermore, IMAX utilizes 4D technology and a 12-channel audio system. In IMAX, speakers are positioned overhead for a more immersive experience. Unfortunately, IMAX movies must be shot using a special IMAX camera due to their technological requirements.

When it comes to technology, RPX is always close behind. With its constant innovation, RPX ensures that cinemagoers have a fantastic experience. Recently, RPX introduced their 4K laser projector with 33000 lumens and a 1870:1 contrast ratio. 

Unlike IMAX, RPX screens support every possible video format, 2D or 3D. This unique nature makes RPX the ideal choice for watching various movie genres.

Screen Size

IMAX’s wall-to-wall screens are renowned for being larger than RPX’s. They are typically 70 to 100 feet long and more than 50 feet tall, making them nearly six times larger than the average movie screen. With such size, the screens create outstanding visuals with a precise contrast ratio.

RPX screens, on the other hand, are flat and much taller. A typical RPX screen measures 45-70 feet long and 60 feet tall, depending on the theatre size. Despite the different sizes, IMAX and RPX have equal build quality, since they are manufactured in the same factories.

Video Quality

ScreenX vs IMAX
The IMAX film standard uses 70 mm film run through the projector horizontally.


With high fidelity and 4K movies dominating the market, video quality is essential to the cinematic experience. Therefore, finding a picture format with the best video quality is crucial when visiting cinemas. In this respect, both RPX and IMAX have their benefits and shortcomings. 

For example, IMAX is best suited for 3D movies with stunning visuals and many action scenes. It is also ideal for 2D films since curved screens offer better video quality and somewhat 3D effects. However, IMAX could do better for movies with a heavy emphasis on dialogue rather than visuals. 

RPX is a much better choice for movies with heavy dialogue. Additionally, RPX screens are dimmer than IMAX, making them more comfortable. This decreased brightness reduces eye strain, especially when watching 3D films.

However, due to their flat screens, some 2D films do not look as good on RPX. Furthermore, with viewers seated further from the screen, the experience can feel unsatisfactory.

Sound Quality

IMAX’s sound quality remains superior to RPX’s. Its superior 12-channel sound system offers an immersive and high-quality sound experience. In addition, IMAX theatres have their soundbox positioned overhead, which further improves the immersive experience. 

Although IMAX has better sound quality, RPX is not far behind with its modern RPX theatres using 7.1 audio channels. Moreover, their speakers are embedded under each seat, creating a unique audio experience. However, while some enjoy this experience, others find the vibration distracting. 

Overall Cinematic Experience

IMAX performs significantly better in creating a cinematic experience. Its overhead speakers, laser projectors, and curved screens create an unrivaled immersive experience. Furthermore, its crisp pictures and perfectly positioned seats make the view stand out.

RPX, on the other hand, focuses more on the viewer’s comfort and creates a cinematic aura. Their reclining wide seats with high backs, ample leg room, and a headrest provide unmatched comfort when watching a film.

Ticket Cost

Although still affordable, IMAX ticket prices remain consistently higher than conventional theatres’. Alternatively, the RPX ticket prices may be high or low depending on the seat quality and technology (3D, 4K, or laser projector).

RPX vs. IMAX: 8 Must-Know Facts

  1. While IMAX has premium seats, they are less comfortable than RPX’s wide reclining seats with high backs and headrests.
  2. RPX uses large flat screens with 2D and 3D capabilities, while IMAX uses wider curved screens with 3D capabilities.
  3. IMAX uses a 12-channel audio system while RPX features a 7.1-channel surround sound system.
  4. RPX has its speakers embedded under each seat, whereas IMAX positions its speakers overhead.
  5. IMAX provides a more immersive experience both visually and aurally.
  6. IMAX screens typically measure 70 to 100 feet in length and more than 50 feet in height.
  7. RPX is best suited for dialogue-focused films, while IMAX is best for action-packed films with stunning visuals.
  8. Due to IMAX’s technological requirements, movies produced for IMAX must use IMAX digital and film cameras during shooting.

RPX vs. IMAX: Which One Is Better?

For Action Movies With Stunning Visuals

IMAX’s curved screen, laser projectors, and robust 3D capabilities make it ideal for watching movies with stunning visuals and action scenes. Therefore, if you are interested in watching genres such as science fiction, action, and animations, IMAX will serve you best.

For Dialogue-Oriented Movies

RPX’s comfort-oriented focus makes it perfect for movies with heavy dialogue. This element means that if you want to watch comedies and dramas, an RPX theatre will serve you best.

For an Immersive Cinematic Experience

Ultimately, IMAX should be your first choice for experiencing the whole cinematic experience. IMAX’s curved screen, 12-channel audio system, overhead speakers, and 4K capabilities are ideally suited to provide you with an unmatched cinematic experience. The IMAX cinematic experience is so immersive that you will feel as if you are right there inside the film.

Up Next

RPX vs. IMAX: 7 Key Differences and Full Comparison FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What are RPX and IMAX?

RPX and IMAX are both proprietary movie systems. However, the system differs drastically. While RPX focuses on premium and comfortable seating with amazing audio effects, IMAX focuses on stunning visuals and immersive sound experiences.

What's better: RPX or IMAX?

RPX is a well-rounded theatre allowing for all video formats and genres. Its comfort-focused seating and unobstructed view make it better than the average theatre. However, it still needs to catch up to IMAX in technology, especially when it comes to stunning visuals and technology.

Is RPX louder than IMAX?

IMAX has a superior audio system to RPX. IMAX uses a 12-channel audio system, while RPX uses a 7.1-channel surround sound system with speakers embedded into the chairs. Although it is still a great system, it is far outdone by the 12-channel audio system.

RPX or IMAX: Which has a bigger screen

The size of a theatre screen often depends on the theatre. However, on average, an RPX screen measures 40×60 feet, and 50×70 for an IMAX. Hence, IMAX screens are typically more prominent, but the sizes might differ depending on the theatre.

Does RPX support 3D

Yes, RPX supports all movie formats, including both 2D and 3D. It aims to present films exactly as filmmakers intend, with powerful, bright, eye-popping images and uncompressed surround sound. RPX further allows cinema enthusiasts to enjoy a custom-built environment for the perfect movie experience.

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