Get ready to BBQ those expensive 4K Blu-rays, because they’re about to no longer be the “definitive,” highest quality version available of your favorite films from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Today, Disney announced that new versions of a baker’s dozen MCU movies will be hitting the service in only a few days, on Nov. 12, 2021. These versions will be presented in “IMAX Enhanced,” an expanded aspect ratio that makes up part or all of certain films in the MCU. That includes the likes of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, which is also scheduled to arrive on Disney+ on the same date.
The differences in aspect ratio are brought about by the difference in dimensions of larger IMAX screens. Although most IMAX screens use a more square 1.43:1 format, the “Expanded Aspect Ratio” is 1.90:1. Films in the MCU are typically presented in a wider format with a letterboxed aspect ratio (the black bars at the top and bottom of the screen), but in certain IMAX theaters they can take advantage of sequences shot to show considerably more of the top and bottom of the screen. For some MCU films such as Black Widow, this is only in certain scenes of the film—Black Widow has 22 minutes that were shot on IMAX-certified cameras, and thus can be viewed in IMAX Expanded Aspect Ratio. Other films such as Infinity War and Endgame, on the other hand, were shot entirely in this IMAX format, so the change there may be most noticeable compared with existing versions of the film.
In short, and for simplicity’s sake, this means that viewing these versions will remove more of the letterbox on your TV screen, with a more detailed image. This is all the IMAX Enhanced label means at the moment, although in the future it will reportedly include other features such as DTS surround sound.
As for this Friday, Nov. 12, here is the complete list of films that will now be certified as IMAX Enhanced on Disney+.
Ant-Man and the Wasp
Avengers: Infinity War
Captain America: Civil War
Guardians of the Galaxy
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings