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CJ 4DPLEX, the company behind multi-sensory 4DX cinema technology, has announced that it had a record-breaking 2019, grossing more than £246 million ($320 million) for 4DX worldwide.

It was the best year yet for the groundbreaking format, marking a 12% increase from 2018’s record $286 million. The uptick is partly credited to booming revenues in the U.S., where 4DX box office increased by 73% from 2018, while European markets grew by 17% from the previous year.

The announcement was further proof that a rising tide lifts all boats, after the global box office hit record highs in 2019, surpassing $42.5 billion. Overseas revenues also soared to new heights, topping $30 billion for the first time.

The trend toward premium and immersive movie-going formats is helping to fuel that growth. 4DX is a multi-sensory experience that provides a variety of special effects in cinemas, such as vibrating chairs, blowing winds, fog, and splashing water, through the use of specially designed in-theater technology pioneered by CJ 4DPLEX, a subsidiary of South Korean cinema chain CJ CGV.

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CJ 4DPLEX CEO JongRyul Kim pointed to the recent unveiling of next-gen theater design at CES 2020, the world’s largest tech exhibition, as evidence of the company’s continued evolution. “We will introduce our latest cinema technology to the world and provide a unique and exciting movie experience to global movie fans continuously,” said Kim, who estimated at a press event in Seoul last September that the company’s 4DX screens would be capable of hosting 150 million moviegoers by the end of 2019.

Disney franchises powered last year’s record-breaking box office, topped by “Avengers: Endgame,” which grossed more than $34 million globally to become the highest grossing 4DX film of all time. The Mouse House’s live-action remakes of “Aladdin” and “The Lion King,” “Frozen 2,” and Universal’s “Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw” rounded out the top five. In several Asian markets, local titles also performed well, with local-language 4DX films in China, Japan and India grossing more than $27 million.

While the innovative technology has obvious upside for exhibitors, it’s also spurring filmmakers to push the creative envelope. At the last Busan Intl. Film Festival, Lee Sung-Gang (“Yobi, the Five Tailed Fox”), one of South Korea’s most successful animation directors, debuted “Princess Aya,” the first feature-length animation designed and produced from the outset in ScreenX.

Source: 4DX High-Tech Cinemas Break Box Office Records in 2019 – Variety