Cinema technology firm CJ 4Dplex, the company behind the premium and experiential cinema formats 4DX and Screen X, has unveiled a new premium concept based on a four-sided screen, which the company claims as a world first. The new concept will form part of the company's extreme 4D motion theatre and special effects brand, 4DX. The new concept involves a four-sided screen comprised of auditorium walls curved to a trapezoidal shape at the screen and then topped with an additional ceiling screen which further envelopes the auditorium and makes further use of the unused space.
CJ 4Dplex are one of the most innovative technology companies in cinema having launched both 4DX (extreme 4D and motion seating) and Screen X (three sided or panoramic screen) as well as 4DX with Screen X, a merger of the two concepts in a dedicated auditorium. According to the latest 2019 data, the company reports it had a total of 1,035 screens comprising 730 4DX screens and 305 Screen X screens. Of those numbers, Screen X registered a particularly impressive growth rate rising from just over 200 screens worldwide at end 2018.
As details of the four-sided concept have just been released it is not known if the configuration is another feature on top of Screen X, the existing three screen or panoramic screen format, ie essentially adding a ceiling screen for further immersion or whether the auditorium has unique specifications. Another additional feature is of course the 4DX seats/auditorium which are not used in every Screen X set up. The concept has not yet been given a unique brand, if indeed it will, and currently falls under the 4DX broader concept and branding. The move is interesting as it shows that CJ 4Dplex are continuing to innovate and launch new formats or variants of existing formats in a bid to continue to attract potentially both exhibitor and audience intrigue in further immersive formats. The original 4DX concept is now ten years old, first introduced back in 2009 and currently with over 700 movies released in the format annually. A commercial launch date for the four-sided 4DX branded screen has not been revealed.
The format will likely require dedicated content, as as been the case so far with Screen X with certain films targeting around 20 minutes in the specially configured format. As a result, it is not known if previously installed 4DX or Screen X screens can be retrofitted to accommodate the new design. The concept is further proof of the progressive nature and continued development of what consitutues a traditional screen. However, content remains key to a format’s longevity, as was more clearly exemplified by the now defunct panoramic screen format, Barco Escape.
At the same time, CJ 4Dplex also announced an ‘4DX AR’ platform to bring mobile games to fixed locations such as cinemas and shopping centres. The novel feature is an indoor navigation system which can distinguish between virtual objects and those in the real physical space, allowing visitors to navigate more freely. The platform has been launched primarily as a marketing tool.