4DX movie experience is a niche market segment

Chris Hemsworth plays the evil Dementus in Warner Bros.' “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga.”

Warner Bros. Discovery

In George Miller's new Mad Max film “Furiosa,” a flap of red paint explodes, casting the theater screen in a saturated crimson cloud.

A few feet away, between the rows of gyroscopic 4DX seats, plumes of fog roll in, catching the red tint of the screen as if the glow is somehow transcending the fourth wall and infiltrating the cinema. The fog clears, Chris Hemsworth as Dementus comes into view and grins at the audience.

This is the 4DX viewing experience. It's one of several multi-sensory moments programmed for “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga,” which opened in theaters Friday, to immerse audiences in Miller's final visit to the vast Wasteland. And it amounts to an important value proposition at a time when movie theaters are desperately trying to lure back moviegoers, especially those in the younger demographic.

“We make movies differently,” said Duncan Macdonald, head of global marketing and theatrical development for CJ 4DPlex Americas. “We are so different there, with our options for movement and our environmental impacts.”

In the wake of the pandemic, audiences became accustomed to shorter theater windows and access to more content at home. At the same time, pandemic shutdowns and production freezes due to two Hollywood strikes significantly limited the amount of content arriving in theaters. As a result, consumers dropped the habit of going to the cinema.

Returning moviegoers are looking for premium experiences – higher quality pictures and sound – and are willing to pay more for those tickets. 4DX is an option in the premium large format market, among others IMAX and Dolby Cinema. CJ 4DPlex also owns the ScreenX format.

“Premium cinema experiences are critical to the health of the industry and with fewer films on average on the market than in recent years, the importance and essential nature of a company like 4DX comes into sharp focus,” said Paul Degarabedian, senior media analyst. at Comscore.

4DX uses moving chairs, practical effects and sensory elements to immerse viewers in a film. For Warner Bros.' “Wonka,” the company sang during screenings of the smell of chocolate.

Don Savant, CEO of CJ 4DPlex Americas, says the experience is “complementary” to routine movie theater experiences, noting that 4DX theaters attract younger consumers, primarily in the 10 to 30 age range, who are looking for more experiential viewing. .

4DX is a 4D movie presentation system developed by CJ 4DPlex, a subsidiary of the South Korean cinema chain CJ CGV. This allows films to be enhanced with various practical effects, including moving chairs, wind, flash lights, simulated snow and scents.

CJ 4DPlex

For consumers, the 4DX experience costs an average of $8 more than traditional ticket prices, meaning a ticket can range from $20 to $30 each. But the extra costs don't seem to deter the public.

Last year, 4DX's domestic locations totaled $53.4 million in ticket sales.

“Notably, the higher price for premium movie tickets does not hinder their success, but rather is seen as a solid value proposition for fans seeking the best possible cinema experience,” Degarabedian said. “This is good news for theater owners who, with fewer wide-release films coming to market, can increase revenue per ticket while providing their customers with a great experience that keeps them returning to the theater.”

And for big blockbuster titles, 4DX is proving to be even more popular. Ticket sales for Disneys “Avatar: The Way of Water” grossed $83.6 million on 4DX screens, or about 3.6% of the film's total gross. It is currently the highest-grossing film for the screen format, Savant said.

“We want to give customers an easy excuse to leave their home and visit a local Regal theater,” said Regal Cinemas CEO Eduardo Acuna. “Premium formats like 4DX provide a movie-watching experience that no home theater setup can replicate. Each premium format serves a different storytelling purpose, and each enhances the enjoyment of watching a movie in a different and compelling way. “

Acuna noted that 4DX auditoriums are “a strong box office performer” for Regal.

Regal is the largest operator of 4DX displays domestically, with 50 of its 62 locations in the US and Canada. There are almost 750 4DX screens worldwide with numerous theater partners. The highest volume is in Asia and Europe.

Savant said 4DX is adding about 25 to 30 screens per year globally, but wants to increase that number to 50 to 60 screens per year. The company wants to have approximately 1,200 4DX locations in the next five years. On average, each theater has about 140 seats.

Moviegoers leaving their couches and entering a 4DX theater to see Warner Bros. to see.' “Furiosa” feels the revs of motorcycles racing through the desert from their seats, smells gunpowder in the air during epic gunfights and even gets hit by a gentle jet of water sprayed into the face of an on-screen character.

Last year, 4DX programmed more than 100 films for the enhanced viewing experience. About 40 to 45 of those were major Hollywood titles, Savant said. Others include concert content, musical sing-alongs, anniversary titles and local language films.

Normally, the 4DX programmers, who are based in Seoul, have two to three weeks to create the motion and special effects, although Savant said they can shoot a film in a week if necessary. 4DX can program three titles simultaneously.

Both Macdonald and Savant called 4DX's programmers “artists” and described the process—from the subwoofers in the seats to the fog machines—as different brushstrokes in a work of art.

“Every movie is different,” Macdonald said. “So we're looking at the nuances of the different films we have and how they're programmed.”

In some cases, filmmakers will get involved and make suggestions about when to use certain effects and how subtle or bombastic they should feel or look.

'It's the most dynamic way to watch [a film]Savant said.

Don't miss these exclusive offers from CNBC PRO

Related Posts

  • Business
  • June 15, 2024
  • 1 views
  • 3 minutes Read
FAA is investigating suspected titanium parts used in some Boeing and Airbus jets

Federal transportation officials are investigating how titanium sold with false documentation ended up in parts used to make Boeing and Airbus planes. The Federal Aviation Administration and Spirit AeroSystems, a…

  • Business
  • June 15, 2024
  • 2 views
  • 3 minutes Read
Salesforce (CRM) Q1 2025 Earnings Report

Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce, will appear on a panel at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on January 18, 2024. Stefan Wermuth | Bloomberg | Getty Images Sales…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You Missed

Smarter foragers don't forage smarter

  • June 15, 2024
Smarter foragers don't forage smarter

FAA is investigating suspected titanium parts used in some Boeing and Airbus jets

  • June 15, 2024
FAA is investigating suspected titanium parts used in some Boeing and Airbus jets

COVID vaccine companies told to focus on KP.2 variant for drop shots, according to FDA announcement

  • June 15, 2024
COVID vaccine companies told to focus on KP.2 variant for drop shots, according to FDA announcement

There are sharks in the Seine – mon dieu! : NPR

  • June 15, 2024
There are sharks in the Seine – mon dieu!  : NPR

South Africa's Ramaphosa is re-elected after the ANC signs a coalition agreement

  • June 15, 2024
South Africa's Ramaphosa is re-elected after the ANC signs a coalition agreement

How bad weather forecasts can drive up your grocery bill

  • June 15, 2024
How bad weather forecasts can drive up your grocery bill

Supplemental Security Income marks age 50. How benefits can change

  • June 15, 2024
Supplemental Security Income marks age 50.  How benefits can change

G7 confronts China on trade, Pope talks about AI

  • June 15, 2024
G7 confronts China on trade, Pope talks about AI

British couple who traveled to Spain were flown to Lithuania instead after being escorted to the wrong plane

  • June 15, 2024
British couple who traveled to Spain were flown to Lithuania instead after being escorted to the wrong plane

Judge halts ban on injection programs in El Dorado County

  • June 15, 2024
Judge halts ban on injection programs in El Dorado County

Intermittent fasting shows promise in improving gut health and weight management

  • June 15, 2024
Intermittent fasting shows promise in improving gut health and weight management