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Can D-BOX Help Theaters?

Can D-BOX Help Theaters?

A lot of discussion in Cannes this year was about the future of Hollywood releases, and whether 3-D and IMAX (and maybe both, simultaneously) are some of the last great hopes for wide distribution. Add D-BOX to the mix. What is D-BOX? It’s not an abbreviation of the Justin Timberlake/Andy Samberg song. It’s essentially a way of watching movies and turning the experience into an amusement park ride. This has been used in home theatre video game systems for a while (some may recall it in Steve Carrell’s home in 40 Year-Old Virgin). Recently, though, D-BOX is ramping up its commercial installations. From the company Web site:

Our completely new D-BOX Motion Code system, conceived for use within commercial theatres, adds a new dimension to your experience. It allows moviegoers to Live the Action onscreen with an unmatched realism. In other terms, the D-BOX Motion Code system creates movements: pitch, roll, heave, and intelligent vibrations – perfectly synchronized with the onscreen action.

Some multiplexes have been outfitted with D-BOX systems for Terminatior Salvation. So, will this enhanced experience be a salvation for theaters? For AICN, Massawyrm took D-BOX for a test drive in Austin, and he’s come up with his own conclusions:

The process of D-Boxing a film takes roughly 300 man hours and they carefully program the movements to go with each frame of the film. A D-Box seat, when not in motion, isn’t nearly as comfortable as a standard high grade riser seat, so I’m not certain people will ever want to sit in one without paying the extra $8 ticket price to activate it. But it will do the trick if the show sells out and no one wants D-box.

I was allowed to bring several friends in to the test screening to try it out and the whole slew of them returned this past weekend to check out TERMINATOR SALVATION in it. They HATED the movie (I got an earful), but they loved the seat experience and all said they couldn’t wait to try them out on a better movie. As a hardcore film lover I’m torn on these. I’m not sure whether I want my first time seeing a film to be in these seats or sitting in a standard seat (as the filmmaker PROBABLY intended.) I’m leaning towards the latter. However, I would definitely return to see a movie I loved in those seats. I would KILL to see STAR TREK in D-Box, and I might return to give T4 another shot in them. If you enjoy these kinds of gimmick experiences, or like a good theme park ride, this is great thing to try out and give a shot if a nearby theater has it.

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