Pictured: From left to right: Guy Marcoux, VP of Marketing at D-BOX; Matt Eyre, VP of Operations at Cineworld; Iain Inch, Marketing Executive at Cineworld.
Today, cinema-goers will enjoy the opportunity to attend a D-BOX film screening in the UK for the first time ever; the “motion effect” technology available from today exclusively at the massive Cineworld on Glasgow’s Renfrew Street see the specially designed and ultra-expensive seats tilt, shake, and vibrate in sync with the film. Glasgow are the first to receive the seats, with five English cinemas slated to launch them soon, and if those six are successful, Cineworld have plans to set them up in twenty-four more cinemas around the country.
“We’re kind of the natural evolution of cinema,” we’re told by Guy Marcoux of D-BOX. Marcoux, Vice President of Marketing at the Canadian company, spoke to us at the Glaswegian D-BOX launch last night along with Cineworld’s Vice President of Operations, Matt Eyre. “After sound and image, we bring the immersive motion experience to the cinema industry. Basically, movie-goers will be able to feel and live the action of the movie right from their seat.”
VP of Marketing, D-BOX
“We’ve been doing it for about three years right now in the theatre environment, and we have over a hundred [D-BOX-equipped] theatres in the world. This is our very first in the UK with Cineworld, and we’re very proud of that. It certainly does bring this other level of immersion that wasn’t there before.”
The Glaswegian cinema is Cineworld’s biggest; Eyre tells us that “two million admissions come through the door here, so it made perfect sense to start in Glasgow”. The technology hasn’t been implemented in their busiest screen, though. “It’s in our second tier of screens, and the reason it’s in our second tier of screens is so we can rotate the product through different movies and so all of the D-BOX films.”
Disney’s “John Carter”, released today, will be the first to take advantage of the technology, and Marcoux says they expect between twelve and fifteen D-BOX-enabled films to come out this year. Once you walk into the Renfrew Street cinema, it’s clear that Cineworld want to push the tech: not only is the D-BOX logo plastered next to Screen 11 on the floor plans, but a demo unit on the ground floor invites the public to give it a shot.
Pictured: Cineworld Glasgow Renfrew Street (left) and Disney’s “John Carter” (right).
Of course, the added experience comes at a price: “Ticket pricing here will be the standard ticket price plus a £4.50 uplift for D-BOX, and if it’s 3D, there’s another £1 lift instead of the usual £2.50”, Eyre says. According to surveys carried out by D-BOX, however, customers who paid had a 90% satisfaction rate. “As long as you deliver on the experience, people feel like they have had their money’s worth,” Marcoux explains. “And we believe we do.”
We’re also reminded that the experience can be personalised by members of the audience: a touch-sensitive panel just underneath the right arm-rest of each seat offers three different intensity options, plus the option to disable the seat altogether. The three hundred-seat auditorium in the Glasgow screen features thirty-five D-BOX seats, of which two are accessibility, so customers are also given the option of whether they want to use D-BOX at all.
“And there’s something very important to understand: this is not a theme park ride. It’s not. Typically, in a family movie, between 25% and 35% of the movie will have motion effects. You won’t have this seat that moves all the time; that’s not what we’re all about. Our goal is to try and replicate reality as much as possible, without crossing that line of a theme park ride.”
Driving this point may be the price point of a single chair, should you want to buy one for your home. While Marcoux points out that they’ve integrated the technology with PC games already, it’s “still a very high-end product on the home entertainment front, about $10,000 USD per seat”. That’s a steep price against which the current admission price pales in comparison.
“The important thing for Cineworld is that this is one more step for customer focus, customer service, and our branding, which we’ve been working on for a year,” Eyre says in conclusion. “We put IMAX into Edinburgh, we’re putting IMAX into Sheffield and Crawley tonight, so we’ve got these three big things going on at once, and that’s just the start of all the fun that’s coming to Cineworld cinemas.”