Get ready for 4D!


With CineAsia coming up next month, I wonder if the organizers will address a growing topic of interest here in Asia: 4D. Yup, while we’re still talking about the pros and cons of 3D, along comes the next-generation technology.

Golden Duck Group has already done an installation in Lego Land in Malaysia, while CJ CGV, Korea’s largest multiplex chain, established as CJ Golden Village in 1996 through a merger between Korea’s CJ Corporation, Hong Kong’s Golden Harvest and Australia’s Village Roadshow, is commercializing the next-generation 4G.

The new technology developed by subsidiary CJ 4DPlex is being touted as the next big thing to hit the theatre sector. It concentrates on several additions that have a more physical impact on the viewer: mechanized seats that roll, pitch and yaw in tandem with the camera’s movements; vibrating or pounding each individual audience member aggressively in the back during fight scenes like a renegade massage chair; jets of air or water directed at the head and back of the neck to simulate anything from various weather conditions to aerial motion and bullets whistling past the head; strobe lighting in the auditorium during explosions or storm sequences; cascades of bubbles, billows of smoke and even diffusions of aromatic vapors to accompany the traditional image and soundtrack to the film in question.

CGV owns almost 700 screens in South Korea alone, including what is currently the largest screen in Asia, the Starium in Incheon. It has expanded its operations further throughout Southeast Asia, with additional venues in China and Vietnam, and even one in Los Angeles.

Remembering King Sihanouk
A personal note: On Oct. 15, former king Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia passed away. Nothing really notable about that, except he was my friend, treating me almost like a grandson. For Sihanouk was a member of the moviemaking fraternity. Love or hate his politics as king of Cambodia, love or hate his movies, the man tried to portray the anguish, love, history and culture of his people for the world to see on the big screen.

I spent ample time with him in Phnom Penh and at his palace in Beijing, where he would spin tales about the golden days of Hollywood. He granted me two royal knighthoods, one French and one Khmer, and while I appreciate those honors I appreciate more the time His Majesty took to answer my letters (actually e-mails) and care about me as an ordinary human being.

Sihanouk passed away two weeks before his birthday. Rest in peace, Papa (as Sihanouk's friends and subjects called him).

Chinese Screens to Double by 2015
Over the last four years, the number of screens in China has doubled to more than 6,200, a figure that's projected to double again by 2015. Box-office receipts hit a record $1.5 billion last year, according to the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television.

That's still well behind North America, where there are more than 40,000 screens and box-office revenue was $10.6 billion in 2010. Still, China is already considered the world's number-four movie market, behind only North America, the European Union and Japan. And with only one screen for every 220,000 Chinese residents, exhibitors have plenty of room to grow.

Follow Scott Rosenberg on Twitter @scott_cos or on Facebook at D Scott Rosenberg.