4D cinema technology provider, MediaMation has expanded its footprint in Latin America with two deals with existing exhibitor partners for new MX4D theatres. Cine Colombia, the largest exhibitor in Colombia and Cinemex, the second largest Mexican operator, have each signed for two new 4D auditoriums to be installed in early 2016.
For Cine Colombia, the new 4D auditoriums with 180 and 208 seats respectively will be both located in the capital Bogota and installed in January 2016. CineColombia currently has a total of five MX4D systems installed. The deal includes MediaMation’s new patent pending EFX arm-rest technology which allows effects such as scent, wind and air to emanate from the individual seat.
Meanwhile, Cinemex has ordered two 262 seat 4D auditoriums which will also be installed in January 2016 but in as yet unspecified theatres in Mexico, which will add to its existing provision of 12 MX4D systems across eight Mexican cities.
Mediamation is currently one of three major 4D technology providers in the theatrical space, and one of only two companies including CJ 4Dplex’s 4DX technology, to offer an extreme 4D experience with motion seating plus additional environmental stimuli.
The other main provider is D-Box which focuses purely on the motion seating element and which has the largest footprint in terms of total screens (rather than seats) penetrated. The D-Box model is usually to outfit a number of rows in an existing auditorium rather than equip a fully configured theatre as is the case with the other two formats (4DX and MX4D). D-Box reportedly had a total of 420 screens (committed and installed) as at Q3 2015.
According to MediaMation, it had a total of 24 systems installed in commercial cinemas worldwide (plus others in themeparks and speciality venues) approaching end 2015, including one site with Santa Rosa Entertainment group in the US. The majority of MX4D sites are in Latin America (Mexico, Colombia) as well as Japan, UAE and China. MediaMation opened its first 4D theatre in China in H1 2015 with Wanda Group through a partnership with local 3D equipment supplier Luxin-Rio.
Development comes as leading 4D motion and special effects provider CJ 4Dplex, reported that 4DX screens had generated a total of 10 million ticket sales in the year to October to date, a new milestone for the company based on a calendar year and equivalent to $150m at the worldwide box office. The surge in admissions can primarily be linked to a rapid roll out of 4DX screens in 2015 including expansion to seven new territories. The milestone is equivalent to a 0.4% share of total global box office from up to 215 4DX screens based on pro rata worldwide box office for 2015.
There were a total of 215 4DX screens as at October 2015, up from 128 screens one year prior, representing a strong 68% increase year on year. CJ 4DPlex expects the company to reach over 235 screens by year end 2015, including recent installations inTurkey and South Africa, both new territories for 4DX. In Turkey, the technology was installed in the Cinemaximum Mamara Forum in Instanbul deal following a deal with Mars Group, which was announced earlier in the year.
Greater availability of major blockbusters in the format has also been a key driver for 4DX including Universal’s Jurassic World as one of 70 titles released in the format in 2015, which in turn generated over 1.3m ticket sales and an average occupancy rate of 55% across its full run in 4DX. Two further titles Avengers and Furious 7 also generated over 1m attendances each.
According to IHS, the total number of 4D screens worldwide equated to 594 as at Q3 2015, up from a total of 426 at end 2014. Extreme 4D (motion plus special effects) accounts for a total of 40% of the market by screen count. 4D is continuing to gain momentum in cinemas internationally with total screen footprint having doubled since year end 2013. The rise is linked to the now growing push by key exhibition chains to strategically invest in a range of premium cinema offerings including premium large format (PLF) auditoriums, reclining seats and in-dining, to offer a more immersive and engaging experience. 4D sits on the experiential side of the premium offering, (technology originated from the theme park environment), and is now becoming increasingly popular with cinema audiences for key content.
Mediamation currently accounts for a small 4.2% of the 4D footprint as at Q3 2015, but was the most recent to launch. Its largest markets of Mexico, Colombia and Japan, are also among the territories with the largest provision of 4D cinema screens generally. In comparison, 4DX counts China as one of its largest individual territories with 41 sites and Japan with 33 sites, as at October 2015. The company (CJ 4Dplex) has targeted a total of 300 sites by H1 2016.
In related news, Mediamation has also launched a multi-player interactive VR full motion experience, drawing on its expertise in 4D motion and special effects systems in cinemas and other speciality venues worldwide. VR is another developing avenue that may see potential in the cinema environment based on the social and theatrical setting.