In the 4D theatres the 3D movies are blended with a number of physical effects which occur in sync with the movie in the theatre. The kind of effects which are simulated in the 4D films might include rain, vibration, smell, wind and strobe lights. Generally the seats in the 4D movie theatres rock and vibrate or even shift a few inches during the show. Other chair effects in 4D theatres could include water sprays, back ticklers, air jets and much more. Some of the theatre effects of 4D could include rain, smoke, air bubbles, smell and lightning. With 4D it’s not just about watching the action but also experiencing it.
Since the physical effects can be extremely costly to install in a regular theatre, 4D movies are often screen in custom built theatres in amusement parks and theme parks. However these days you will find a few movie theatres in US which has the ability to screen 3D movies in 4D. For instance Avatar and Journey to the Centre of the Earth are two movies which can now be experienced in 4D in some theatres. Hollywood is now converting many of the super hit movies into 4 D since the audience are shunning the expensive multi-dimensional 3D versions.
A Korean company CJ 4D Plex, has created the first of its kind 4D theatre in Los Angeles where the motion sensor seats rock and vibrate and various kinds of special effects like fog, wind, rain, smell, thunder, strobe lights etc. are synced with the action on screen. However the concept is nothing new since back in 2009 the audiences viewed the Hollywood blockbuster Avatar in 4D. A 4D experience of movies such as the latest Pirates of the Caribbean and Kung-fu Panda 2 have left the audience feeling dizzy and damp after the show. CJ 4D Plex is planning to build the first 4D multiplex in New York and if it becomes a success then they are planning to expand to Europe. A Korean blogger has reported that the seats in the 4D theatres come with massage chair motors which punches the viewer lightly in the bottom while Po (the protagonist of Kung-fu panda) falls down or gets hit. At the end of the movie the audience saw the bubbles floating down from the ceiling to simulate the look and feel of fireworks.
Not all the audience is excited with the 4D effects. Some have complained about getting all damp from the water effects of the latest edition of Pirates of the Caribbean. There have also been reports of audience going almost deaf and feeling nauseous after watching Transformers: Dark of the Moon when the entire hall was reeking of the smell of burnt rubber. Some of the latest Hollywood blockbusters which have been converted into 4D include How to Train Your Dragon 2 and Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Presently 4D theatres are being installed in about 23 countries including China, Japan, Chile, Venezuela, UAE, Bulgaria etc. According to a film distributor from Seoul, the 4D movies are the latest craze just like the Imax giant screens were about 10 years back.