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Is 4D technology coming to a theater near you?

CBS (September 27, 2014)

The latest innovation aimed at getting Americans off their couches and back into theaters is 4D movies, CBS News` Brandon Scott reports.
With flashing lights and rocking seats, watching a movie in 4D can be a wild ride.

"Every effect has its own track on my software right here," said Catherine Yi, an editor at 4DX, the Korean company that developed 4D technology.

Her job is to make big-screen blockbusters come alive.

"All of the effects are helping to tell the story," Yi said. "It`s adding on another layer. Car chases are great. Car chases, you have the motion cause the seats to move as if you`re in the car, and it does all this screeching and the skidding."

The idea behind 4DX is to bring viewers inside the film using a wide array of special effects. Seats move, vibrate and shoot bursts of air and water. Giant fans create wind gusts. Fog machines pump out smoke. There`s even a bubblemaker.

And to further set the scene, the seats release specially designed aromas.
They come from scent canisters, which emit smells from coffee to burning rubber.

Before Yi`s work hits theaters, the film`s executives weigh in.

"We ultimately don`t want to take away from the storytelling; we want to be able to immerse the audience into the movie," she said.

4D films are already popular in Asian countries like Korea, Japan and China. And, now, 4DX has partnered with its first U.S. theater in the heart of downtown Los Angeles. Tickets aren`t cheap; it can cost a family of four nearly $100 for a 4D movie night. But, so far, that isn`t scaring moviegoers away from this theater. In fact, business is booming.

Regal Cinemas in Los Angeles opened with a two-week showing of the latest "Transformers" and raked in $105,000, more than twice as much as traditional theaters earned from the film during that same period.

"I think for us it`s a great new revenue source, but more importantly it`s a great new guest experience," said Nick Baker, who helped bring 4D to Los Angeles. "Fans want a different experience, and I think that`s what we`re providing them is a new movie experience that is unlike anything they`ve seen before."

Moviegoers agree.

"You get really involved with the movie; you definitely feel like you`re more a part of it," said 4D movie fan Gabriel Duarte.

4DX plans to keep expanding - both in the U.S. and around the world - with its next theater opening later this year in Switzerland.