New theaters will throw water and fog at audiences for a premium price. M&Ms thrown by teenagers in back row still free.
Korea-based theater technology outfits CJ 4DPlex and AEG are bringing their so-called "4DX" cinema experience, already a hit overseas, to U.S. shores; with the first installation opening in Los Angeles this past Thursday. A competitor in the same field, MediaMotion, opened a version of their own in Oxnard one day later.
Essentially a version of "immersive" theater experiences popular in amusement parks for years refitted for mainstream multiplexes; 4D theaters are equipped with seats that vibrate or shift, wind machines, temperature-controls and rigs that can spray fog, "rain" or specific scents into the theater auditorium timed to relevant events of the film. The two California theaters serving as the U.S. launch-market are both using Transformers: Age of Extinction as their debut feature.
While the technology is currently most-popular in China, Korea and Mexico, CJ 4DPlex's Brandon Choi explained: "The U.S. is very important to us as a strategic market - and L.A. is the center of the movie industry." Meanwhile, MediaMation is boasting that 4D presentations are already being set for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Lucy, Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy, and the new TMNT.