The above looks like a pretty snazzy movie theater, right? Utilitarian, sure, but undoubtedly purpose built to cut down on distractions while in a movie theater. That is until you realize that's actually a 4D movie theater and the 'fourth dimension' in question is nothing but distractions from a normal theatrical experience. Every seat is built to move and vibrate in sync with the action of the movie. Special gizmos embedded throughout the theater are capable of spraying fog, moisture, wind and even smells into the air to simulate the elements. Combine all of that with a 3D movie and you've got a new cinema craze that's done so well in its native South Korea that maker CJ Group wants to bring it to America.
But do Americans really want such a movie theater experience? The above image looks innocent enough, but if you head over to the LA Times' profile on the company's expansion attempts, you'll see an image of a man sitting in a room trying to see a movie screen through a dense cloud of fog. And if you ask us, that's a pretty cruddy way to see a movie. We get motion controlled seats - D-BOX can certainly be a lot of fun for a movie like Fast Five - but we'd like to walk out of a movie theater pretty much in the same state we walked in; not covered in soggy clothes and smelling like fake gunpowder.
Movie fans elsewhere are already paying to see movies like Prometheus this way, though, and that means we may just see a test run on American shores in the near future. The ticket price for such a pleasure is expected to be an extra $8 on top of the already groan-worthy costs of seeing a 3D movie. And while we're sure some people will pay for the novelty of it at least once, we struggle to see how this will become a trend. There's a reason amusement parks use these kind of gimmicks in one-off "rides." It makes sense in the world of roller coasters and funnel cake. It doesn't exactly make as much sense for a Friday night dinner and a movie date.
But what say you? Will you pay an extra $8 for the privilege of having machines
interrupt complement your movie-going experience?
Oh, and be sure you watch this official commercial for CJ's 4DPlex right to the end. Trust us, the sheer "Really? That's your selling point?" of it is worth it. Warning, slight profanity at the end.
Follow along on Twitter: @PeterSHall and @Moviesdotcom.