Canada gets its first theatre with motion-enhanced seating


Dbox Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince will be the first Canadian release to make use of new technology that translates on-screen action into movement that audience members can feel through their seats.

If you've been to a movie theatre in the last year or two, you've no doubt noticed the increasing number of 3D movies that are being shown.

The main reason for this is that 3D represents an experience that, for now, is only available to people who go see movies in theatres. That's key for the theatres as they try to find ways to lure audiences back into their seats. With an expanding array of hi-tech choices for the home, this is more than offering thrills, it's a matter of survival.

But the theatre industry isn't stopping at 3D. The next stage in the evolution of the movie theatre experience is being developed and marketed by a Canadian company called D-BOX. The future of movies is movement.

For several years, Quebec-based D-BOX had been producing high-end gaming rigs used primarily for race simulators. Their core technology is combination of actuators mounted to the chassis of a chair or driver's seat and specialized software that interprets the action on-screen and produces a corresponding movement.

Now, after a trial launch in the U.S., that same technology is coming to the big screen. Known as the D-BOX Motion System, it will be debuting at the Cineplex Odeon Queensway in Etobicoke – the only Canadian theatre, at least initially.

Starting with the release of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince on July 15, movie goers in southern Ontario will have a chance to "feel" their movies. No word on when or if this movement technology will be combined with 3D, or when additional theatres in Canada will offer the D-BOX experience.

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11 comments

  1. Sherry Allard

    About time theaters improved viewing. Preferred purchasing the VHS or DVD to taking kids out to a movie. Cost astronomical ($20 – $100) and to what end. Missing information because someone was rude/discourteous, child has to go to washroom, and running on theaters time. Not always convenient. Especially when a tad late and line-up out the door for later films. Theaters need to get "the edge" to make it more advantageous for us the viewers.

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  2. CB

    they need to lower their prices to get people to come to the theatre or atleast let us bring our own snacks and drinks. everytime i go i feel like i've been ripped off, especially if it turns out to be a crappy movie!

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  3. none

    Similar to the book "Brave New World" where they had "feelies". The book is a dystopia. Makes me wonder where the world is heading with this…

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  4. Jeff

    "Similar to the book "Brave New World" where they had "feelies". The book is a dystopia. Makes me wonder where the world is heading with this…"

    I was thinking the exact same thing… o_O

    Next thing we know, we'll all be clones that are constantly on a soma-high.

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  5. jinho

    It's not new, this technology.
    It was at Canada's Wonderland for quite sometime.
    Then again, they are talking of the "normal" theatres recieving this kind of technology, where you can watch things all year round.
    Hurrah for them!

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  6. Bob Samsulu

    What? Seriously? Etobicoke is the first choice.. what where they thinking…
    Oh! and it's also another ridiculous gimmick, the first being 3-D.
    And it's especially bad for a world that's trying to SAVE electricity, not waste it.
    What happened to the days of reading, have we really moved on to vibrating movie theatres?

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  7. David

    I have to make one comment.. .the 3D movie experience is not to thrill the patrons it is to stop the pirates. A motion picture produced in a 3D version will not record properly with a video camera thus is the reason for a lot more pictures coming to us in 3D! But I can't wait to try this new experience!

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  8. Simon Cohen

    @ David: sorry David, I have to disagree. While it might be impossible to record 3D movies with a cam, all 3D movies are released in non-3D versions for cinemas that don't have the 3D technology, so someone who really wanted to could still find a way to record them. But more importantly, cams are the least accessed types of pirated movies, mostly b/c the quality is garbage. Studios that wish to put a dent in piracy need to worry more about who has access to DVD and blu-ray copies of their films b/c these are the real sources of heavily viewed bootlegs.
    3D really is about box office revenues, not an anti-piracy measure.

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  9. bigted

    Sorry the gimmick won't get my behind in a chair. It needs to be cheaper and without idiots interupting the show before I'll go to the theatre to watch a movie.

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