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Last Updated: Sunday, 20 March, 2005, 14:42 GMT
Imax 'shuns films on evolution'
Imax cinemas screen science films and blockbusters such as Robots
Several Imax cinemas in the US have refused to show films referring to the theory of evolution for fear of a religious backlash, it is reported.

Viewers at a US test screening judged films which contradicted religious descriptions of man's origins as "blasphemous", the New York Times said.

As a result science films were denied screenings in approximately 12 large-screen Imax cinemas.

Spokesmen for Imax cinemas in the UK were unavailable for comment.

Knock-on effect

Religious controversy has reportedly affected the distribution of educational films such as Cosmic Voyage, Galapagos and Volcanoes of the Deep Sea to Imax cinemas, some based within science museums.

While relatively few cinemas were involved, it was feared it could have a profound knock-on effect across the world because of the high cost of producing Imax films.

Carol Murray, spokeswoman for Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, said the museum's Imax cinema decided not to screen the Volcanoes movie after showing it to a sample audience.

In their written comments the audience made statements such as "I really hate it when the theory of evolution is presented as fact", and "I don't agree with their presentation of human existence".

"If it's not going to draw a crowd and it is going to create controversy, from a marketing standpoint I cannot make a recommendation [to show it]," Ms Murray said.

'Carefully weighed up'

Similarly Lisa Buzzelli, director of the Charleston Imax Theatre in South Carolina, told the newspaper: "We have definitely a lot more 'creation' public than 'evolution' public."

She had not completely ruled out screening Volcanoes but added: "Being in the Bible Belt, the movie does have a lot to do with evolution and we weigh that carefully."

There are currently 240 Imax cinemas operating in 35 countries.

In addition to educational films, they screen blockbusters such as Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, Spider-Man 2 and animated movie Robots.

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