They say NYC is the city that has it all (recent additions: adult ball pits, slip n slides, and restaurants where you can catch your own fish). But one thing it doesn’t have is movie theaters where you can feel a monkey pee on your face. That’s set to change by the end of the year, because Manhattan is getting its first 4DX movie theaters, and one of them is headed for Union Square.
CJ 4DPlex, a South Korean company that has outfitted theaters around the world, has announced that it’s bringing its immersive cinemas to Regal’s Union Square and Times Square locations. We’re told the two auditoriums should be up and running in November or December, depending on construction.
As you may have read when the U.S. got its first one in Los Angeles last summer, 4DX theaters are outfitted with motion seats that are synchronized with the action on screen. When I saw Noah in Seoul, my seat swayed along with the choppy seas and pitched forward rollercoaster-style when someone was tossed off a cliff.
But that’s just the start of it. When Noah cut someone’s throat, water puffed out from the seat in front of me to make it feel like my face had been spattered with the blood of my enemies. Hair-raising winds simulated gusts and strobe lights served as lightning. During a fight scene, my seat punched me in the back a bunch of times, like a massage chair from hell.
But my absolute favorite 4DX moment came during a showing of Night at the Museum in Mexico City, when the monkey peed on Owen Wilson’s face – and my own. Every kid in the theater squealed in what was either horror or delight. Apparently 4DX theaters also pump out scents (e.g. the aroma of coffee), but we were spared the stench of primate piss.
I’m told that New York’s 4DX auditoriums will hold an estimated 120 to 140 people, though the number could change as construction gets underway. It’s uncertain how much tickets will cost: at Regal LA Live Stadium 14, a regular showing of Fantastic Four is $8 while the 4DX showing is $16. It’s safe to assume 4DX will cost more than that at Regal Union Square Stadium 14 and E-Walk Stadium 13, where regular tickets are $15.25 to begin with.
Of course, the films that get the 4DX treatment tend to be the blockbusters that are anathema to anyone who has ever owned an Anthology Film Archives tote bag (think Jurassic World and San Andreas). But as evidenced by 4DX’s wild popularity in Los Angeles, the latest Marvel monstrosity is way more tolerable when your seat doubles as a mechanical bull ride.
Fingers crossed for a 4DX version of Beetlejuice 2.