D-Box will revolutionalize the way moviegoers enjoy their movies.
Moviegoers go to the cinema to be immersed in the movie they're watching. They want to sit in the darkness and see and hear only the movie that is playing. Needless to say an enclosed cinema hall does provide higher chances of complete immersion compared to an open space living room, where random sounds and happenings can easily hinder the audience from fully enjoying the movie they're watching.
To further enhance the moviegoers' experience, exhibitors have come up with ways for the audience to enjoy movies even more. Dolby Atmos surround sound system makes every sound clearer to the listening ears. High definition and 3D visuals make every scene sharper and more realistic to the watching eyes.
After the senses of hearing and sight, it is only natural that touch comes next – let the audience be one with the movie as they sway and vibrate with every motion effect. This is where D-Box Motion Seats come in. Introduced in the US in 2009, the motion effects seats finally make it to the other side of the world in 2014. Namely here, South East Asia.
Singapore is the first South East Asian country to debut the D-Box seats in their cinemas, followed by Malaysia. Other countries in the region currently do not have D-Box installed in their cinemas but that doesn't mean the seats are altogether unavailable there.
Let's take a look at how D-Box Motion Seats are faring in the Southeastern part of Asia so far:
D-Box at GSC 1 Utama and Pavilion KL (Malaysia)
One of the major exhibitors in Malaysia, Golden Screen Cinemas, has brought the first ever D-Box Motion Seats into the country. The seats got their debut in GSC 1 Utama, with the installation starting in July and taking up to three weeks for completion (as the hall remained open to the public during the duration, making the installation process longer).
Installed in Hall 3, which is also equipped with Dolby Atmos surround sound system, there are a total of 30 D-Box seats located at the last three rows of seats at the back of the hall. The seats are covered in firm black leather.
Kelvin Chee, GSC Senior Manager, says this is to ensure that the audience will get to feel the full effect of the motions from the seats. The soft launch for the D-Box seats were held on 4 August, with "Guardians of the Galaxy" as the movie chosen to be experienced with the motion seats.
On 27 November 2014, 27 more D-Box seats were installed at GSC Pavilion KL, bringing GSC's total number of D-Box seats in Malaysia to a total of 57.
The ticket price for the seats are currently set at RM32. However, the price will vary according to the movie playing. The basic break down of the pricing will be a RM15 surchage on top of the original ticket price. Another RM5 surcharge applies for 3D movies.
The seats are also set to be installed in GSC Mid Valley. These D-Box seats will help attract more moviegoers especially action movie lovers as now not only do they get to see and hear the action onscreen, they even get to feel it live in action too!
GV Bishan D-BOX (Singapore)
D-Box seats were introduced to Singaporean moviegoers back in March 2014. Golden Village installed the seats in two of its Bishan cinema halls. The D-Box seats in GV Bishan are located at the very back of the halls, occupying the final two rows.
Every D-Box seat design differs by exhibitor as each has the flexibility of choosing how it wants the seats to look and feel. So, while Malaysia's GSC chooses leather, Singapore's GV opts for velvety upholstery. Though the designs do not differ by much since the controllers, for controlling the intensity of the motion effects varying from low to medium to high, are still placed on the dominant right hand side.
The seats were opened to the public after a month of renovation in the cinema. "Need for Speed", which was relased in Singapore on 13 March, was the first movie to be played and enjoyed by D-Box seated moviegoers.
GV currently offers different pricing on the tickets depending on the day. For 2D titles, the price is SGD11.50 from Monday to Thursday and SGD15.50 from Friday to Sunday as well as on eve of public holidays and public holidays. For 3D titles, the price is SGD14 and SGD 20, again depending on the day. Flat rate of SGD10 for 2D films and SGD12 for 3D films apply to students only.
There are currently no words on where GV will be installing the seats next but Ms. Clara Cheo, Chief Executive Officer of GV, promised moviegoers that there will be more movies to be enjoyed with D-Box. More movies will definitely draw the crowd in as they would have more options of movies to choose from, thus rendering the excuse of their favourite movie not playing in D-Box cinemas ineffectual and they will have no reason to not experience the D-Box sensation.
D-BOX (Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam)
Ken Knapp, D-Box Technical Specialist and D-Box distributor in South East Asia, says that even though most South East Asian countries currently do not have any D-Box seats in their cinema, they do however have the option of installing them at home.
That does not sound very promising for exhibitors as it might draw people away from the cinema if they can experience cinematic atmosphere right at home. However,there is no need for worry just yet, there are signs pointing to D-Box being available in their cinemas some time in the near future. Take these three countries for example: Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam.
At the moment, Major Cineplex in Cambodia and Thailand operate 4DX cinemas. These cinemas let the audience engage with the movie playing through sight, sound, smell and motion. The motion seats are somewhat similar to D-Box seats where the audience will move along with the movie's motion effects. In order to compete with that, other exhibitors in the country might just install D-Box seats in their cinemas.
While D-Box seats only provide the motions minus the smell – sight and sound are a given seeing that most cinemas are 3D and Dolby ready – they do at least assure the audience of not bearing down on them with sensory overload.
GSC, other than having cinemas in Malaysia, also has 18 screens in four locations in Vietnam through a joint-venture with Galaxy Studio. Since it is the first exhibitor to bring D-Box into Malaysia, it might be the first to bring it into Vietnam as well. Like Cambodia and Thailand, Vietnam has 4DX cinemas but they are operated by CJ CGV.
D-BOX (Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam)
4DX cinemas come equipped with their own motion seats. [Photo source: Novo.wada.vn]
Response to the introduction of D-Box Motions Seats has been decent thus far, with some calling it a gimmick while others praising it for changing the future of cinematic experience. However, seeing that more and more cinemas are jumping on the D-Box wagon in the region, there is hope just yet that it will become more mainstream in the future, making it more accessible to everybody and moviegoers who are only opposed to the pricing will be more accepting of it as the necessary evolution of the cinematic experience.
Cinema Online, 27 November 2014