IMAX takes supersized experience to fitness industry

Imax gets in on exercise craze 04:32

IMAX built its $1.7 billion empire by supersizing the movie-going experience.

And now, the company designed to get people to kick back and enjoy a movie is inviting them to click in and break a sweat.

"We can create these bigger experiences for people in the movie theater, why not take that and apply it to a space where consumers are really amped up," said IMAXShift CEO Bryan Marcovici.

IMAXShift combines indoor cycling with a wall-to-wall screen and pulsating sound.

Marcovici hopes this combination shifts the way people think about exercise.

"When you think about fitness, the biggest seat changes have been when they put the little screens on the bike," Marcovici said. "I think for IMAX, we were able to come in and just leap frog over that technological advancement... it can really create something new and unique that you never had before."

Bree Branker, one of the Shift instructors, showed us inside IMAX labs.

In the 70mm IMAX projection booth with "Inter... 03:43

"I choose the song that I really, really love, that I think has a lot of natural road map to it. And then I made video content, with our video editor and we're going to test it out," Branker said as she demonstrated a training exercise.

The health club industry earned $24.2 billion in 2014, up more than seven percent from the previous year. Experts say the increase is in part because of the growing popularity of boutique fitness, where instead of paying for an entire membership, consumers are paying for a specific class, like cross-fit or yoga.

But Jason Kelly, author of the upcoming book, "Sweat Equity," said "whether people keep going back is hard to say."

He thinks IMAX may have some tough competition in a crowded fitness field.

"Spinning seems like a long-term trend. What may shift is, do people like soul cycling? do they like fly wheel? do they like the IMAX concept?" Kelly said.

While he "immediately" thought it was a good idea, IMAX Corporation CEO Richard Gelfond said he is cautiously optimistic about this new project.

"I don't want to put too much on it. It's just a test. But I think you've got to think big and start small. I think we'll be onto something," Gelfond said.

At a recent training session, we had a chance to get a feel for IMAXShift. Those first looks did not disappoint.

"First thing that comes to my mind is larger than life. I mean physically, literally. I mean there is just an energy about it that you don't quite expect," Branker said. "I wanted to turn around and watch it and ride with you guys. It just feels like something you would want to be a part of."