It has taken just a year to transform the desolate roundabout at the end of Waterloo Bridge and within the next 12 months it is estimated that half a million people will have visited.
Canadian founded IMAX corporation has opened 180 cinemas but the £20m Waterloo IMAX, part funded by lottery money, has the most sophisticated motion-picture projection system yet.
The giant wide screen is the height of five double-decker buses. The opening films are the 3D deep-sea story Into the Deep which takes viewers beneath the ocean waves and the 2D Destiny in Space featuring breathtaking pictures filmed by astronauts of a shuttle orbiting the earth.
London IMAX is part of the British Film Institute which last year screened 2000 feature films, shorts and television programmes to audiences at the National Film Theatre on London's South Bank as well as bringing the history of film to visitors with the nearby Museum of the Moving Image.
Tickets are £6.50 (conc £5.50; child £4.50) with shows from 12 noon to 8.45pm.
- IMAX hotline is 020 7902 1234.
- Nearby St John's Waterloo is marking the IMAX opening by holding an exhibition this month. From Cardboard city to IMAX cinema is a photographic record of the past year by Maj-Lis Andersén. She has wandered around the concrete cavern recording the death of the Bull Ring and the birth of IMAX. In 1951 St John's was the Festival of Britain church.