The market for "4-D" cinema is heating up in Southern California.
Torrance-based MediaMation Inc., known for its motion-effects technology used in theme parks such as Legoland, is venturing into the local exhibition business, with plans to open "4-D" theaters in Oxnard and several other California locations.
MediaMation said the Oxnard theater, the Plaza Cinema 14, is set to open this summer and will be the first of several new X4D theaters that it will install for Santa Rosa Entertainment, which operates more than 100 digital screens in Northern and Southern California.
These high-tech theaters will consist of 100 seats and will be powered by the company's patented technology that uses air pneumatics to control the motion of the seats synchronized to the action on the screen. In addition to moving seats, the theaters also use such effects as air, water blasts, leg and neck ticklers, wind, fog and scents to create a more realistic moviegoing experience.
As with 3-D, consumers will pay a surcharge for the experience, although MediaMation said it had not yet set ticket prices for the new venues.
The company, which already has "4-D" theaters in Mexico and Columbia, also said it plans to install similar theaters in Oman operated by Oman Arab Cinema Co.
"We are very excited about our first U.S.-based X4D cinema theater," Dan Jamele, chief technology officer of MediaMation, said in a statement. "As a U.S.-based manufacturer, we wanted to find a partner whose theaters represented a very 'middle America' and younger demographic. We feel the Oxnard location is a perfect fit for us and the Santa Rosa group."
The announcement comes days after South Korean conglomerate CJ Group announced it would open the nation's first "4-D" theater at AEG's Regal L.A. Live multiplex. Canadian-based D-Box technologies also supplies motion seats at some local venues.
"X4D technology is a new form of traditional cinema entertainment that couples an extreme experience with value for our guests," said Neil Pearlmutter, vice president of Santa Rosa Entertainment group. "We're proud to be a leader in our industry and offer this new, cutting edge technology."