Ready for a Theater Seat that Moves?

Call me old fashioned, but I just want to sit and watch a movie. 3D is nifty when it’s used properly — aka, when the on-screen characters don’t throw stuff at you — but that’s where I draw the line.

If “motion seating” company D-Box gets its way, the next big thing in movie theaters will be seats that lift, pitch, roll, and heave you around like a ragdoll.

D-Box motion seating for theaters

As if it’s not exorbitant enough to spend something like $10 extra for 3D movies, now theaters are going to want you to shell out an additional $8 for seats that belong in a flight simulator. At least there’s a control dial that lets you turn down the intensity of the movement and even switch it off if necessary. But why pay $8 for something you’re not even going to use? I’ll just go to the non-D-Box showing, thanks.

It is interesting how theaters are changing with the times. Like most other entertainment industries, your local cineplex is feeling the crunch of both the economic recession and the rise of the digital age. Movies are so easily acquired (and yes, pirated) online that more and more, people are creating their own home theaters and enjoying the comforts of watching movies without that obnoxious guy kicking the seat behind you, or the kid a few seats down who won’t shut up.

To compensate for this, theaters are coming up with creative new ways of bringing people back to the public movie-watching experience. 3D was of course a big kick in the pants, because it offered something that viewers couldn’t get at home and it gave extra profits per-ticket to the multiplex. This D-Box thing is clearly intended to appeal to the same mindset, though I’m far from convinced that moviegoers will want to be jostled about while watching the latest summer blockbuster. (I mean seriously — how are you supposed to enjoy your popcorn and slushy drink if you’re being tossed around?) It’s currently being used in limited release at theaters near Chicago with screenings of Super 8.

My wife and I took our 3-year-old son to his first “movie theater movie” today (Cars 2). We didn’t go to the 3D version, just the regular 2D. Didn’t want to freak the little guy out his very first time. While we were there, I noticed ads for another company called Fathom Events, which is using movie theaters to schedule nationwide “events,” which are made up of live broadcasts of everything from concerts and stage plays to business conferences and even church services. It’s an interesting experiment that gives purpose to all those movie screens and the technology they house at times when they might otherwise go unused.

Movie theaters are going to need more creative ideas like these if they are to survive the 21st Century.

But seats that move? Come on. Life is hard enough. If I really wanted to be beaten to a pulp while being entertained, I’d just hire somebody to pistol whip me when Doctor Who is on.

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Robin Parrish
@robinparrish

Unathletic, uncoordinated tall man with endless creativity stampeding through his overactive brain. Comes with beard, wife, and two miniature humans. Novelist. General blogger and main Gaming Geek for ForeverGeek. Lead Blogger, Apple Gazette.

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