Originally Posted by FilmReverie
Films are shoot more or less in 1.85:1 and scope (which ranges from around 2.35:1 to 2.40:1). So if you have a scope 2.40:1 screen films shoot in 1.85:1 will have 'black bars' to either side of the image. If you have a 1.78:1 screen scope films will have black bars both above and below the image. No matter which screen shape you go for you will have black bars for some films. I would like to also point out most films are not shoot in scope, it is rather evenly split between scope and 1.85:1 at the moment and in the past films where shot in 1.37:1 (which makes a 1.78:1 screen a better choice if you watch many older films) so I would recommend spending some time deciding which one you prefer.
While this is true - if you take into account ALL films produced in a given year, the number of films actually produced are split pretty evenly between the 1.85:1 (1.78:1) and 2.40:1 aspect ratios. However, more than 75% of the most popular
films since the mid-1950s have been shot at 2.40:1. This is true right up until today. Look at the 100 top grossing movies of all time - 76 are 2.40:1.
Dave Carty took a look at the top 10 grossing movies of each of the past three years and nearly all of them are 2.35:1. Interestingly, all 10 of the top grossing movies of 2011 are 2.35:1.
So, here is my suggestion. Take a look at your personal movie collection (or make a list of your favorite films) and see what aspect ratio they are. Whenever I have had anyone do this the ratio of 2.40:1 to other aspect ratios has been about 2 to 1 in favor of Scope. Of course, if your tastes run toward classic cinema or art films, you may end up with the opposite ratio.