While booking movies on Fandango, you would have seen ‘Cinemark XD’ written across a few movies / shows, like shown below…
…and wondered what it meant. You are not alone. There are thousands of people searching for this every month. So let us dive right in get to know what is XD in Cinemark.
What Does XD Mean in Cinemark?
The XD in Cinemark stands for Extreme Digital. The XD technology is only available at Cinemark’s select screens and is aimed at providing a superior in-theater experience as compared to the standard ones. How exactly is XD different from the standard ones? We’ll find out below.
Quick History of XD
XD was born in the year 2009. Yes, it is over a decade older now! The primary objective of Cinemark was to offer something unique which was closer to an IMAX experience. It was only after Cinemark came up with XD that Regal launched its RPX experience a year later in 2010. (Difference between Cinemark XD and Regal RPX is covered below.)
What is Cinemark XD? Features of XD
Cinemark XD is powered with four primary features. They are:
1. Big screen – XD in Cinemark is being publicised as having ‘wall to wall’ and ‘floor to ceiling’ screens. This is huge because it gets almost closer to IMAX’s screen sizes. While XD’s screen measures 70 feet tall and 133 feet wide, IMAX has 75 feet tall and 144 feet wide screen.
2. Sharp picture quality – Cinemark supposedly used Barco’s 4K projector for XD while the standard ones have 2K. Cinemark claims this technology has ability to project a whopping 35 trillion colors!
3. Sound quality – Earlier, XD theaters were powered with Auro 11.1 surround sound system. However, not many movies were made to support this audio setup. Eventually, Cinemark started moving towards sound-mixing which is similar to Dolby 7.1 system but exactly that.
4. Premium seating – All XD screens come with comfortable recliners, and heaters! In fact, Cinemark is starting to use this seating for its standard screens as well. Secondly, in terms of seat placement, the front row seats are not very close to the screen. So you won’t have to move your eyeballs here and there. Similarly, the last row seats are not too far behind. Hence, there is no good or bad seating in XD.
To summarize, Cinemark XDs are backed with IMAX-like screens and picture quality. They are yet to figure out the right sound system to be used but it is not bad. Seating is premium and comfortable.
So, how much additional to pay for all of this as comapred to Cinemark’s standard theaters?
How Much Are Cinemark XD Tickets Priced at?
A quick check on Fandango reveals a wide difference in the prices of standard and XD theaters. Just to be clear, similar movie and theater was used to make a comparison. The timing was slightly different (12:00p and 2:45p) of the shows.
While the standard ticket is priced at $8.50, XD is priced at $12.00. A 40% premium is what you will have to pay to get the XD experience. Please note that this may vary theater to theater.
Do All Cinemark XD Theaters Have Similar Features?
Need to admit – Cinemark XD’s consistency is commendable. Cinemark has focused on giving a similar experience across all XDs, which means similar screen size, seating, sound system and picture quality across the country.
Why is this commendable? Isn’t this common sense, you would ask. We live in times where IMAXs are being labelled as LieMAX. There were very strict requirements earlier for theaters to get an IMAX label. However, nowadays, even relatively smaller screen sizes have an IMAX label. Hence, it becomes difficult to predict the kind of experience you would be getting if you opt for an IMAX.
Cinemark XD is THX Certified – What Does This Mean Though?
For those who don’t know, THX certification is (as claimed by its own website) a gold standard for audio and visual fidelity. Cinemark XD theaters are THX certified, and it is a big deal. Several quality checks and adherences are looked into before getting the certification. In addition the superior sound and picture quality, THX also looks at seemingly-minute thing like noise or disturbance coming from outside the movie hall.
In addition to Cinemark’s own tall claims, there is a backing from THX that build more trust on the XD experience.
XD vs. RPX – What is the Difference?
Cinemark has publicised its XD offering and features very well. Also, its screen sizes are consistent across the country’s theaters. On the other hand, Regal’s RPX theater sizes have a wide variation. They are only 45 feet to 70 feet wide. Same technology is being used for projection and sound by both.
I would rate XD to be a notch above RPX mainly because of its screen size and the certification.
Is Cinemark XD Worth It?
If you haven’t given this a shot yet, you definitely should. Sure, XD comes at a 40% premium compared to the standard offering. But with so many additions to provide an immersive experience and the THX certification, you are likely to be in for a different experience. We have mostly seen positive reviews of it so far.
How many Cinemark XD Theaters exist in the US as of July 2023?
Cinemark has a list of all its theaters on its official website. However, it isn’t separated by technology or whether the XD experience is available. A quick count on Cinemark’s official website reveals that the count of Cinemark XD screens would be anywhere between 155-165 across the US. A search query on Fandango’s website also return the same number.