Each day new ideas form, materializing into something tangible for consumers to discover and enjoy. However, once the item is unwrapped then experienced, excitement for that particular invention begins to fade, while attention is directed towards something more futuristic.
Here is one example of innovation at its finest, with no intentions of fading ever: D-BOX. This is the answer to exhibitors struggling to sell out their auditoriums with enthusiastic moviegoers.
The $11 Billion Year, an incredible feat, a number that rocketed the cinema industry straight past the stars, was due in part to the incredible collaboration of studios and exhibitors. On the studio’s side we experienced a year filled with visual stimulation, great content and innovative storytelling. Meanwhile, exhibitors unleashed a dish of cutting-edge technology in projection, sound and seating, satisfying the gargantuan appetite of our ever-evolving movie audience. However, if you told me a year ago that a chair with motion systems capable of driving moviegoers deeper into the cinematic experience would be the front runner for this success, I would have challenged that idea. Today, I gladly stand corrected as I plan my next trip to the theaters for another D-BOX experience. My short demo of the Oscar nominated film Whiplash, sent my heart galloping on the drums of perseverance, as cascades of sweat dropped off Miles Teller’s face. I was completely in sync with the film and hypnotized by the power of D-BOX.
In this exclusive interview with D-BOX Senior Product Manager Patrick Michel, we learn how this cutting edge motion system will change the way we experience movies at the cinema for years to come. This unparalleled realistic immersive experience is created by motion designers with musical backgrounds. This skill aids them in creating motions that perfectly synchronize with the on-screen action. It’s like music to your ears, if music were a luxury chair that took over your senses.
AGTM: How many years has D-BOX attended Cinema Con?
Michel: Since the beginning of D-BOX’s involvement in the theatrical industry in 2009.
AGTM: What are the intentions of D-BOX and what do you hope to achieve over the years?
Michel: Over the years the important thing was to create awareness, making sure that people understood that static and in-movie watching was the thing of the past. We added new dimensions of movie watching by adding motion.
AGTM: What is the magic that has D-BOX captivating moviegoers across the country?
Michel: When you watch movies, you look at the big picture, you look at the great sound, but there is still a barrier between the moviegoers and the film because there is no real immersive experience. When you see the moves which are in perfect synchronization with what you’re seeing on the screen, you actually feel like you’re in the movie. My comment is based on the fact that we did a survey with a lot of moviegoers. The expression, you feel like you’re in the movie, is said by everybody, so we use it as a tag line as well.
AGTM: What does multi-sensory enhancement mean and how does that affect action played out on the big screen?
Michel: When you watch a movie, lets say you’re in a car and it takes a curve, its really a nice curve. You see the car move and you have a point of view of the guy driving it, but when you’re seeing the moves with it, the experience is totally different. This affects the sense of balance in your ear, which automatically creates reality in your mind. Your brain actually believes that you’re moving, so it connects you better with the movie .
AGTM: Is D-BOX used solely for action films or can it translate well into other genres?
Michel: We do a lot of movies every year, between 35 and 40. Most of them are blockbuster action movies and adventure movies but to give you an example, the film Whiplash which is basically a film about a drummer…we’ve put motion to it. It’s radically not mainstream yet but
D-BOX can handle it, as well as we can do multiple categories, it depends on what the content is all about.
AGTM: Was D-BOX a call to action due to the shift to smart devices or was it a natural move into an innovative future in theatrical technology?
Michel: People have been going to the movies for years and years. Besides having a greater picture, greater sound, a bigger image and a louder sound what kind of innovations have we seen? D-BOX fills the gap. We are stepping it up and we’re bringing immersive seating which is basically bringing the experience of seating in a chair and moving with the movie. This is something that’s one step above static movie watching…that’s what we do and it was created specifically for the movie industry
The exhibitor industry is hungry to attract people back to the movies, besides the concession business inside the exhibitor building and just the movie watching experience. If people want to watch a good movie on a big screen and big sound and really feel that cinematic experience that you can’t get at home, you add D-BOX, now you have something else to talk about.
AGTM: D-BOX is being called Blue-ray’s secret weapon. How has D-BOX translated from theater to home? How does it perform in a smaller environment?
Michel: It’s another kind of expereince. At this moment, it’s an experience you can have if you have the means for it. Those that do, love it!
AGTM: As the gaming industry moves into the theater, what role can D-BOX play in enhancing the gaming experience and in boosting ticket sales?
Michel: One thing that makes us unique, is that we offer what I call a single seat experience. Which means that seat, you’re sitting in, is unique because it will only move you. So if you have maybe 4 or 5 seats together in a row, that move together, it’s not the same thing. If you’re doing gaming, you in those seats are independent, thats what we offer. When it comes to D-BOX itself and its technology, if i can summarize, whether it’s gaming or movie watching, VR or whatever, if we can see it we can move to it. Whatever technology comes in the future D-BOX is ready to move to it and add motion to whatever content you see.
AGTM: What does the future hold for D-BOX, what is the next step or move?
Michel: Lots are being developed in the D-Labs, not something I can talk about, but I can tell you that what’s coming is going to be extremely exciting for exhibitors.
AGTM: How does D-BOX monitor trends in the cinema industry and what impact do the Millennials create?
Michel: Do you know what the best survey is? When people come back. 70-75 % of first time D-BOX ticket purchasers will rate the experience as excellent off the bat. We know for a fact from all the other research that we’ve done that people talk about it. They talk to their friends about it then they go in groups together…those are the Millennials.
When it comes to the Millennials, that category of the population is very technology savvy, most of the time. They’ll want to watch a movie on their iPad, on their phone, on anything that has any electronic or video capacity but at the end of the day they still go to the movies. There’s that experience that you just can’t replicate yet. You can watch Star Wars, lets say on your phone but it’s not like seeing it on a big screen. There’s the going out, the planning of going out, purchasing the ticket, going on a date or something, all these aspects, whether you’re a Millennial or older it’s the same experience. It’s the big image, it’s the big sound the motion that D-BOX brings, that’s the whole thing.
AGTM: What makes D-BOX special to you personally?
Michel: I love going to the movies and I’ll tell you one thing, I’m not bias. Before working for D-BOX I was already a D-BOX fan, it just adds that thing you can’t get somewhere else. It’s radically different from what people would expect lets say when you go to Universal Studios and all these theme park attractions but this is not it. D-BOX is really tailored made for the cinema and when you watch a movie you really feel like you’re part of the movie. It’s intense and it’s really cool.
AGTM: Describe D-BOX in one word
AGTM: What superhero does D-BOX remind you of?
Michel: Iron Man
AGTM: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Michel: One thing that is really important, is 95% of people who will watch a movie in D-BOX will refer it to other people and talk about it to friends and family. We’ve seen it in all the surveys we’ve done. We did cognitive research and it is staggering, we’re up there with the biggest brands, the most liked brands in terms of referral, 95% is a big number so we’re very proud of it. We know it works because people go to the movies and buy D-BOX tickets. Some people will wait in line for the next movie showing because it’s in D-BOX rather than going to the movie that’s not playing in D-BOX and that’s great.