“The traditional moviegoing experience is at odds with the rest of their lives,” said Ben Carlson, president of Fizziology, a consultancy that focuses on entertainment and social media.
To combat the problem, theater chains seem increasingly open to trying just about anything. Regal, for instance, in June began offering something called 4DX in downtown Los Angeles. More than 100 seats buck and dip in close synchronization with the action on the screen. Compressed air blasts from headrests to simulate flying bullets. Fans provide a gentle wind effect.
There are two types of water effects: rain, which drops from the ceiling, and mist, which is squirted from the seat in front of you. (Patrons can turn off the water by pressing a button.)
“We’re adding to the story, not taking away from it,” said Catherine Yi, a senior editor for CJ 4Dplex, the company behind the technology. More 4DX theaters are on the way, both in the United States and abroad. Competing companies like D-Box and MediaMation are racing to roll out similar motion-seat offerings.