“In my opinion, it really breaks the barriers into a new realm of cinema,” Brock Bagby, executive vice president of B&B Theatres, told the Kansas City Business Journal. “Everybody’s always talking about, ‘Well, I can get a big TV at home, or I can get a recliner.’ You can’t get this at home. … It is the most immersive moviegoing experience around.”
Gladstone-based B&B Theatres signed a four-screen contract for the proprietary multiprojection system with 4-D cinema company CJ 4DPLEX. B&B will debut the technology first at its flagship Liberty theater, which is slated to open in early summer. B&B plans to feature four theaters with the technology by 2019.
The ScreenX system will be paired with one of B&B’s Grand Screens, which is four stories tall and seven stories wide. In addition to the main screen, the auditorium in Liberty will feature a wall panel on the left and right side of the screen that runs along the side of the auditorium. The panels are designed to reflect light and will display extended images during the movie, creating a panoramic experience.
But when a ScreenX enabled movie isn’t playing, it will look like a normal auditorium, Bagby said. Two current movies that leverage the technology are “Black Panther” and “Rampage.”
Even if movies aren’t shot to accommodate the technology, they can be retrofitted afterward through editing, he said. But Bagby thinks the new technology will lead to new cinema techniques. B&B is working closely with studio partners and vendors to showcase 12 to 15 ScreenX titles a year starting in 2019.
Other features of the Liberty flagship theater will include two Grand Screens, an MX4D auditorium and screenPLAY, an auditorium dedicated to families and young children that includes a playground. These are options that aren’t available anywhere else in the Northland. And in the U.S., ScreenX is available only in Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
ScreenX, along with screenPLAY and MX4D, are the types of offerings that can boost attendance and draw crowds from farther away than a typical theater, he said.
“People are hungry for new inventions and technology, and I think because of the success of 4-D and screenPLAY, we’re willing to do even more,” Bagby said.