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Filmmakers fight to keep IMAX theater open at Smithsonian's Natural History Museum

Filmmakers fight to keep IMAX theater open at Smithsonian's Natural History Museum (ABC7)

Dinosaurs are coming at you. That real feel is what draws visitors to the IMAX Theater inside the Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum.

“You feel like you’re in it. It’s beautiful,” said Namrata Haldipur, who drops in often as family and friends visit her from India.

“What value does it add to the experience?” said Haldipur.

It’s a question she asks after learning the Smithsonian will close the IMAX Theater at the end of September.

One reason—to make way for more restaurant space.

“For our children to have less nature and more fast food is just the most remarkable thing. It doesn’t make any sense to me,” said Jonathan Barker, a filmmaker.

Barker’s film Amazon Adventure is playing at the museum. He’s in D.C. to try to reverse the museum director’s decision.

“I’ve made television and feature films and this is the most satisfying because of that audience engagement,” said Barker.

In a statement, the museum director says less than four percent of visitors go to see an IMAX film.

The theater opened in 1999. Barker says he has records that show attendance is up since 2014.

“They don’t appear to have done a proper analysis of how can they keep the theater and service the customers,” said Barker.

The Smithsonian points out it has two other IMAX theaters: across the Mall at the Air & Space Museum and in Dulles, Virginia, at the Udvar-Hazy Center.

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