CJ 4Dplex has signed a new deal with Cineplex Deutschland to launch the first 4DX theatre in Germany in April 2019. The deal marks the first of any 4D manufacturer in the territory. The German market has been slower to adopt 4D as a premium format compared with other major territories in Europe such as UK, France and Russia. Cineplex has therefore set a new competitive benchmark in Germany.
CJ 4Dplex also signed a further deal in the newly opened up market of Saudi Arabia with the Rashid Empire Cinema Consortium. The deal covers a total of 10 4DX screens to open by 2023 as the largest in the territory to date. Deal was not the first for 4DX in the territory, however, as Cinemacity was scheduled to open three 4DX locations in 2018.
As well as new markets, CJ 4Dplex has also been expanding further in the prime North American market, opening a further five screens with Regal Entertainment in April 2019. The new 4DX theatres will be located in Knoxville, Nashville, San Diego, King of Prussia and Las Vegas in the US, bringing the total number of Regal 4DX theatres to 17. The installations mark the largest number of consecutive new openings in a month for 4DX.
The news comes as 4DX hit a new benchmark with 6.1 million tickets sold generating $72 million at the box office in Q1 2019. According to CJ 4D plex, the top five markets (China, Japan, Korea, France and the UK) together accounted for over 50% of its total BO. The company attributes the strong quarter to both US blockbusters as well as local content, specifically naming China’s The Wandering Earth and Japanese title Dragon Ball Super Brolly.
Mediamation has entered the Indian market for the first time opening the first MX4D theatre at the Inox Multiplex Inorbit Mall in Mumbai in April 2019. CJ 4Dplex is already active in the Indian market, but this is the first time an MX4D screen has been installed. There were a total of nine 4D screens, of which all were 4DX screens active in India in June 2018. Mediamation will also install two screens at Filmhouse Cinemas both in Lagos, Nigeria in Spring 2019.
Mediamation has a total of close to 350 MX4D screens installed worldwide, of which around 250 in China and has recently expanded by branching out into new markets such as Nigeria and Chile alongside growth in established markets such as China.
4D is now one of the fastest growing premium formats, overtaking PLF in terms of relative growth in 2018. The latest deals show how 4D is continuing to expand to new territories, even major box office markets such as Germany as well as expanding further in emerging markets like Nigeria.
CJ 4Dplex has also made further traction with its first ‘4DX with Screen X’ screen deal in Latin America with Cinepolis. Cinepolis is one of its key global exhibitor partners with a total of 59 4DX screens across 10 territories, including the US. Separately, CJ 4Dplex also agreed a deal with Inox Leisure to bring the novel Screen X format to India in 2019.
The developments show how CJ 4Dplex has been able to leverage its existing partnerships to build up both its Screen X platform as well as the latest ‘4DX with Screen X’ brand, a merger of its two existing technology concepts, but in a branded and managed way. For exhibitors, it also shows how one technology can act as a springboard towards further investment in other experiential formats such as Screen X and 4DX with Screen X. Therefore, investing in one or more premium formats and experiences is helping to drive demand for further brands and technology rather than acting as a barrier to further investment. It also shows how CJ 4Dplex has been able to leverage its existing strong relationships to help sign further deals for its other formats and indeed some deals may be split between formats.
CJ 4D Plex has also leveraged its strong ties with the US Studios from its 4D platform in order to bolster its novel panoramic format Screen X. The company agreed a deal with Warner Brothers to release the first ever Pokemon movie making use of the panoramic three screen set up and will see Pokemon popping up on all three screens in addition to the main feature movie. The agreement highlights the strong role content plays in driving uptake of technology as well as the advantage of having built up strong relationships with the Studios.