News & Opinion

Best Setting for Disney+ IMAX Enhanced Movies

One of the positives of being a total home theater nerd is that I have access to pretty much every streaming service available! Top that with the fact that I am also an unabashed Star Wars and Marvel nerd, you know that I have had a Disney+ membership since it was announced two years ago. So I was super excited when Disney+ announced some great new additions for November 12 on their Disney+ Day!! A total of 13 movies will be offered in IMAX Enhanced format. But the real question is, how should you watch them and what setting should you select to get the best IMAX Enhanced movie experience on Disney+?

What’s New?

The biggest thing I am excited about is the addition of 13 Marvel movies being released in IMAX Enhanced format. It means that during some scenes, you will automatically switch to the 1.90:1 IMAX ratio, giving you up to 26% more of the screen being used. Although only offered in Atmos for the time being, Disney+ says that they will be working toward adding DTS, plus the full slate of HDR and Dolby Vision offerings for the best at-home experience.  

Disney+ is offering the following movies in the new IMAX Enhanced format: 

The Best Setting for IMAX Enhanced

There are three possible settings that we know about at this time. You can force Disney+ to output the standard 2.35:1 letterbox format with black bars on the top and bottom. You can force IMAX format 1.90:1 with much smaller black bars on the top and bottom. Lastly, you can have Disney+ switch between the different formats as needed. But which is the best?

For the best IMAX Enhanced experience on Disney+, you want to go into your settings have it switch as needed. Most of the above movies were shot in a hybrid format. This means that the movie was shot in letterbox with some scenes shot in IMAX. If you force letterbox, it will cut off the top and bottom of the screen (which is what it has been doing). If you force IMAX, it will cut off the sides of the screen. Allowing it to switch will give you the same experience you would have gotten if you had seen the movie in an IMAX theater when released!

Editor’s Note: Forcing letterbox isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The cropping of the top and bottom was expected when the films were shot. While you are technically missing out by not enabling IMAX Enhanced, it should not make much of a difference to your experience. The director(s) knew the disc version and many theaters would display the film in letterbox and framed each shot accordingly. The IMAX Enhanced content is just a nice bonus!

What Else is Coming?

If you are not a Marvel fan there is still lots of stuff that should pique your interest.  It includes:

  • The Making of Happier than Ever: A Love Letter to Los Angeles about Billie Eilish’s recent Disney+ cinematic concert experience
  • Marvel Assembled: The Making of Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings
  • Marvel Studios Legends: Hawkeye
  • Enchanted
  • Spin
  • Fancy Nancy, season three 
  • Feast (Short)
  • Frozen Fever (Short)
  • Get A Horse! (Short)
  • Enchanted
  • Jungle Cruise
  • All-New Short From The Simpsons
  • Paperman (Short)
  • Tangled Ever After (Short)
  • The Little Matchgirl (Short)
  • The Ballad Of Nessie (Short)
  • Tick Tock Tale (Short)
  • Ciao Alberto (Short)
  • Entrelazados
  • Home Sweet Home Alone
  • Olaf Presents
  • Under The Helmet: The Legacy of Boba Fett
  • Dopesick (S1, Premiere)

Our Take

Disney+ came out swinging when it premiered two years ago and is poised to create even more competition in the streaming market. While I don’t think that adding IMAX Enhanced movies to their slate of releases will convince a ton of folks to get the service, it may convince a few to keep it a bit longer. 

What I think will continue to drive people to Disney+ is continually adding original content, releasing new movies like Shang-Chi earlier than anticipated, and of course (me being totally biased here) the Book of Boba Fett in December! The good news is that if you are not currently a member of Disney+, you can sign up for $1.99 for one month!

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