Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Video: Waxahachie theater rolls out moving movie seats
You'll be moved by the experience. No, I mean really MOVED.
Just in time for the debut of the final chapter of the Harry Potter series, which opens Friday, the management at ShowBiz Cinemas in Waxahachie find themselves sitting in the proverbial catbird seat with a first-in-North-Texas technology. It's an $8 add-on to the regular ticket price, but taking in the occasional film from one of their 25 D-Box-equipped seats will certainly "move" you.
In layman's terms, what happens when you watch a movie from one of the D-Box-enabled seats is that your comfy chair suddenly turns against you, whipping around, pitching, yawing, and heaving (and/or vibrating) in synchrony to the on-screen action. Each seat has a setting that allows you to adjust the motion effects — MFX, in D-Box lingo — from low to medium to max. (Go for the gusto, I always say: MAX settings, people!)
Since we have nothing else like it in North Texas, I felt compelled to motor on down to our gingerbread-trimmed neighbor to the south to check it out. Theater manager Lou Petrich met me at the front door a couple of hours before opening time to give me a behind-the-scenes look at the setup.
Theaters started being equipped with D-Box in 2009 (with the Mann Chinese 6 in Hollywood getting the first installation). The first film to be programmed with MFX effects — a process that takes 300-400 hours per movie — was Fast & Furious (2009), with 28 other films having been D-Box enabled since then. The latest of these is the final chapter of the Harry Potter series: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, which opens this Friday. Lou told me that — unsurprisingly — all the D-Box-equipped seats for the early showings of that movie have been pre-sold for some time.
Tom Zach, who does contract cleaning for this ShowBiz location, joined me to test out the system. We gingerly sat ourselves down and spent the next 15 or 20 minutes getting a taste of what it's like to see a movie with programmed motion effects. The demo reel Lou cued up for us consisted of selected action sequences from Polar Express, Terminator: Salvation, and Fast & Furious. You can see how it goes for us by watching the video below.
My honest opinion: This is a lot of fun, folks, and I wouldn't hesitate to spend an additional $8 every so often to add another dimension to my viewing experience for the latest Hollywood blockbuster. Though you might want to be extra careful about sipping from an un-lidded Coke cup.
Notably, the Transformer films are not among those titles to have been programmed for motion effects. Advisedly so, in my opinion. Sitting through one of those catastrophe-laden epics in a D-Box chair might just result in the cinematic equivalent of shell shock.
The D-Box experience at ShowBiz Waxhahachie
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