First 4D Movie Theater in US: What to Expect

Experience motion, smell, wind, fog, rain, and bubbles during a film
By Sarah Le, Epoch Times

The first movie theater in the United States with advanced 4D technology opened in downtown Los Angeles on Thursday.

AEG’s LA Live Regal Cinema is showing the latest Transformers movie with the 4DX platform from South Korea-based company CJ 4DPlex.

The 104-seat theater sold out for all shows on Thursday and Friday, according to ticketing website Fandango.

Music producer Fernando Leonardo was in the audience on Friday morning.

“Can’t sleep in a movie theater anymore, that’s for sure,” said Leonardo. “Other than that, it was pretty cool. It was fun. I had a good time.”

Each seat is able to rock, roll, and vibrate along with the movie. Audience members are subjected to air and water bursts, tickling devices, and strobe lights. In theory, each of these effects should are synced with the effects in the movie, but Leonardo said there were a few kinks to work out still.

“When you’re watching, you want the same exact thing to happen at the same time,” said Leonardo. “It was maybe a little bit off, like a bullet flying to the left side and then I hear it to the right.”

Another concern for both audience members and movie theaters is the difficulty of consuming popcorn, candy, soda and other concession food while watching a 4D film. Food and drinks are a major source of revenue for cinemas and an integral part of the movie experience for many.

The first 4DX system from CJ 4DPlex was launched in 2009 in Korea. The system can now be found in over 105 theaters in 24 countries.

The company’s biggest markets are China, Korea, and Mexico, but Byung Hwan Choi, CEO of CJ 4DPlex, said he expects the US market will eventually overtake them.

“Los Angeles was the natural choice for the first U.S. location to carry 4DX,” he said. “We are very much looking forward to welcoming our audiences to a moviegoing experience never before seen in the U.S.”

Competing US-based company MediaMation had the same idea apparently. It opened a separate 4D theater on Friday in Oxnard, California, with the same movie, “Transformers: Age of Extinction.”

Follow Sarah on Twitter: @dadasarahle