A 4DX Theatre at Major Cineplex, Aeon Shopping Mall, Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
A new way of watching movies is upon us, one that's arriving gradually to cinemas around the world and promises to be the most immersive movie-watching experience to date. How immersive you ask?
What about one that lets you feel the effects that mirror the on-screen action and motions, literally?
To find out more about the 4DX in detail, click HERE.
The 4DX technology by South Korean cinema chain CJ CGV by the CJ Group was introduced in 2009 with the movie "Journey to the Center of the Earth" in Seoul, South Korea. The past few years it has quietly but effectively won the hearts of audiences and exhibitors to accept 4DX as a movie-watching game changer to the point that the technology, as of 2015, exists in 30 countries and is still growing.
With more developed countries like the U.S. only getting their first 4DX theatre mid last year and the U.K in January of this year, it's surprising to see that many Asian countries including Thailand and Cambodia (via Thai exhibitor Major Cineplex) had embraced the technology before the rest of the English speaking world caught on and are already on their way to open up more 4DX theatres.
It does seem that 4DX is here to stay and spread its wings to even more territories since the 4DX effects can be upgraded with more features over time thus maintaining its novelty and timely relevance. This is proven with the three new effects introduced by CJ 4DPlex just back in April this year at the CinemaCon exhibition at Las Vegas. Moviegoers are now lured away from their computers, tablets and TV screens flanked by home theatre systems to the cinemas as they now have a reason to experience something different including the new snow, rainstorm and warm air effects right in the very 4DX theater they occupy.
The three new effects join the current effects; motion, water, fog, wind, air, lighting, bubbles, ticklers, scents and vibration, and who's to say it will stop right there?
Watching "Mad Max: Fury Road" in 4DX
"Mad Max: Fury Road" is best in 4DX.
To properly explain the 4DX experience, one has to truly experience it. The latest movies made for the 4DX experience is George Miller's highly kinetic "Mad Max: Fury Road". We recently got to watch the movie at the 4DX theatre at Major Cineplex, Aeon Shopping Mall Phnom Penh and were pretty convinced that the technology is here to stay, especially for high octane movies like this one.
As engines were revved up our seats vibrated, and with each turn of the belligerent vehicles from left to right did our seats also diligently match. So much so, that there was even a 180 degree turn when a car drifted to a screeching halt on screen!
Probably the best 4DX effect utilisation was during the sandstorm scene. The wind effect was really quite powerful (not to mention cold!) and we could've sworn there were some fibers to imitate sand blowing right at our faces! There was even strobe lighting for the thunder which really added on to the alarming state of the storm when the theatre was engulfed with quick burst of bright white light.
The 4DX effects can be pretty intense and demands to be felt as it operates almost throughout the entire movie. But hey, if it's a "Mad Max" movie then you already know what you're getting yourself into, and for USD12 per ticket at Major Cineplex Phnom Penh, you really do get your money's share of effects for the poor overworked seat.
Following "Mad Max" the new disaster flick "San Andreas" currently in cinemas comes in right on time to enjoy the new 4DX effects. The next movie confirmed for the 4DX format is "Jurassic World" with "Minions", "Mission: Impossible Rouge Nation" and "Marvel's Ant-Man" expected for 4DX too.
One of the disaster scenes in "San Andreas".
4DX theaters Asia
Outside and inside look of 4DX Major Cineplex, Phnom Penh.
Since the 4DX technology originates from Asia, it's only natural that the continent had embraced it before the Western hemisphere did.
After South Korea introduced it in 2009, one of the first countries to latch on was Thailand. In 2011, via a partnership between CJ CGV and the Thai cinema operator Major Cineplex, the first 4DX theater of the territory premiered with "Transformers: Dark of the Moon".
The same cinema operator which eventually opened their first cineplex in Cambodia in 2014, brought in the technology much to the delight of the booming Cambodian cinema scene with "Guardians of the Galaxy". With USD12 per movie ticket, Cambodia currently offers the cheapest 4DX pricing in the world. There are talks of more 4DX theatres in Cambodia's future, either by end of this year or early next year. Also word is that CGV themselves will be making way to the country very soon.
Since mid-2013 with the release of "Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters", Indonesia's Blitzmegaplex now operates four of the country's 4DX theaters.
Of course it'll be nuts to not introduce the technology to the second biggest movie market in the world, China. Hence on 14 April 2012, CJ CGV through a merger with Megastar opened its first 4DX theater with "Titanic 3D". Not stopping just yet, CJ has also inked a deal with China's Dailan Wanda Group (the world's biggest cinema operator) to launch five more theatres which started with Dailan, China in February 2015.
Territories like Japan and Vietnam also have 4DX theatres which they introduced in 2013 with "Iron Man 3" and 2014 with "I, Frankenstein", respectively, while Malaysia is expected to get its own 4DX theatre when CGV finally opens its cineplex at Empire Damansara in 2016.
4DX theaters in other parts of the world
A fairly new cinematic addition in the U.S., the country only rolled-out their first 4DX theatre at the Regal L.A. LIVE in Los Angeles on 26 June 2014 with "Transformers: age of Extinction" after a partnership deal between CJ CGV and AEG Entertainment was made. With tickets priced at almost USD30 for the 104-seater, it can be a bit pricey, but according to stats, looks like audiences enjoy the experience as it plays to sellout weekend crowds and admits more than half the theatre's occupancy rate during weekdays, confirms Variety.
Later than most Asian countries, the United Kingdom also introduced its first 4DX theatre at Cineworld Milton Keynes on 30 January 2015 with "Kingsman: The Secret Service". It's interesting to note that the 4DX cinema in U.K. has the second highest 4DX ticket pricing in the world at 14 pounds per ticket after the U.S.
The very latest 4DX theatre opened at Cinema City, Romania with "Mad Max: Fury Road" on 19 May 2015. Tickets are priced around 10 Euros.
Some of the other countries with 4DX theatres are Mexico ("Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides", 2011), Brazil ("Ice Age: Continental Drift", 2012), Peru ("Rise of the Guardians", 2012), Guatemala ("The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug", 2013), Taiwan ("Man of Steel", 2013), Chile ("Turbo", 2013), Venezuela ("Frozen", 2013), Philippines ("The Amazing Spider-Man 2", 2014), United Arab Emirates ("The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug", 2013) and Israel ("The Amazing Spider-Man", 2012) among others.
Cinema Online, 10 June 2015