In a bid to lure more moviegoers back to multiplexes where 3D technology has already become the norm, entertainment companies are now backing a new system called 4D. A South Korean company CJ Group has been on the leading edge of the technology.
The company operates Asia’s largest theater chain. To market its 4DX system, it set up a laboratory near the Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood. The 4D technology has already wowed fans in Thailand, South Korea and Mexico.
At present, the CJ Group has 29 specialty theaters that screen big Hollywood movies such as Avatar, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, and Prometheus. It is close into finalizing a deal with a nationwide chain in the United States to install 200 4D Theaters in the next five years. Some of the cities where 4D cinemas will be opened are Los Angeles and New York.
CJ Group said that its 4D cinemas have already drawn sellout crowds from Seoul to Mexico City. Company executives predict that moviegoers in the US are willing to shell out an extra $8 for the new movie experience. They said that the 4D technology can bring back the crowd to the multiplexes in the United States.
CJ Group is not the only company working on 4D technology. D-Box Technologies of Canada launched limited number of moving seats in North American movie theaters in 2009 for the screening of Fast & Furious. At present it has 100 locations in the United States.
The Universal Studios Hollywood and Disney California Adventure Park have theme park attractions that utilize 4D technology. Universal Studios has Transformers: The Ride and Shrek $D while Disney offers Soarin’ Over California.
This type of gimmick is not new in the movie industry. Director William Castle installed buzzers in theater seats for his 1959 horror movie The Tingler. Theaters installed Sensurround for the 1974 film Earthquake. The system has large bass speakers to generate intense vibrations.