Sensory Cinema: Viewing Films in 4D

By: Justin Prince and Joe Robertson

Since the advent of moving pictures the film industry has always looked for ways to deliver a bigger, louder or more memorable movie going experiences. Now, it seems that the newest wave of expanding the grandeur of cinema has arrived in the United States.

A partnership between AEG Regal Cinemas and CJ 4DPLEX, a South Korean company, opened the first American 4DX theater in Los Angeles in June 2014. The 4DX theater is designed to put audiences in the middle of the action by using motion and sensory effects synched to the pictures on screen. This isn’t the first attempt at making moviegoers feel as if they are a part of the film they are watching, but the technology may finally match the ambition of the theaters. Smell-O-Vision and vibrating shock seats were viewed as gimmicks and cheap tricks that quickly went the way of the Dodo. 4DX however, boasts three different types of motion effects and eight separate environmental effects to bombard a viewer’s senses.

Michael Bay’s Transformers: Age of Extinction was the first film to open in 4DX on American Soil. Showcasing extensive special effects and larger than life fight sequences, Bay’s film may have been the best flick to test the 4DX’s viability in the states.

So how did it do? Well the answer to that seems to be pretty damn good. Age of Extinction grossed more than $245 million domestically, $105,000 of that made over 13 days on the 4DX screen. According to that is more than double ($44,000) what the film made on traditional 2D and 3D screens over the same time frame. But, it’s not just Bay’s Transformers that had success, Cinema Blend also reports that Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and the action film Expendables 3 also saw huge increases in their per screen numbers, 145% and 248% respectfully.

More recently major blockbuster films such as Avengers: Age of Ultron and Jurassic World have hit the 4DX screen and with CJ 4DPLEX announcing plans to open up three more U.S. based theaters in Chicago, New York and another in Los Angeles, its safe to say the 4D motion picture movie may be here to stay.

Watch Video of the 4DX in action here:


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