Hollywood blockbusters are playing a never ending game of cat and mouse with myriad other forms of entertainment, from television to video games to the internet. This contest has forced the studio to continually up their game, sometimes in pleasantly surprising ways such as CGI spectacles like Lord of the Rings or Watchmen…and sometimes in much more tactile ways, like the immersive motion simulation coming this summer to select theatres courtesy of Montreal-based D-Box.
D-Box is the 21st century equivalent of Magic Fingers, but frame accurate and synced to onscreen action. The technology is scheduled to be released with the newest “Fast and the Furious” film this summer, and two US theatres (including the world-famous Mann’s Chinese Theatre) will debut the technology on April 3rd.
The tech works by programming motion codes into a film (though the data could be generated by a video game or a television show equally well) which are then transmitted into a platform or seat which moves in sync to the action. To date, D-Box is embedded within 850 video titles and is also available on several video game titles, but “Fast and the Furious” is the first film to take advantage of the process.
While D-Box seems ideal for home video use and particularly for video games, it remains to be seen how theatres will be able to monetize a technology that will mean paying more for a seat, and for which only specific films will be able to take advantage of the technology. But at least Hollywood is trying something new, instead of hiding behind old business models and hoping for the internet and equally compelling forms of entertainment to just go away.