Is ScreenX Technology the Next Big Movie Theatre Innovation?


Although interest in 3D movies is continuing to decline in North America, the recent success of Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity proves that if you give people a unique experience on the big screen, they’re still more than willing to pay a premium for it. Filmmakers and exhibitors are still trying to capitalize on this idea even further by building in additional moviegoing enhancements from IMAX and D-Box to Dolby Atmos and HFR. Now this month yet another new technology has emerged from the Busan International Film Festival in South Korea, where director Kim Jee-woon premiered a 30-minute film using a new format called ScreenX. Described by some as being the equivalent to “horizontal IMAX,” the technology aims to immerse viewers by providing imagery for their entire field of view. Could this be the next big thing?

ScreenX technology is created by South Korea’s largest cinema chain, CJ CGV Co., and it makes use of projected images along the theatre walls to create a 270-degree view. The additional screen space can be used in many different ways, but Kim Jee-woon chose to shoot some scenes with three cameras simultaneously set up at different angles in order to create the final product. There are currently 23 theatres in Seoul that are now ScreenX capable, an upgrade that reportedly cost between $139,300 and $185,800 U.S. dollars.

While it’s unclear if this technology has the potential to expand to other parts of the world, it does have a few advantages. It’s an improvement on 3D because viewers do not need to wear glasses in order to get the immersive experience. Also, it is potentially an improvement on IMAX because viewers can take in more of the horizontal image without moving their head as opposed to a vertical image. However, there are some concerns about problematic seat placement, especially closer to the sides of the theatre. What do you think, does ScreenX seem like it has potential? Could you see it eventually replacing 3D or IMAX? Check out a couple of sample videos below.

Around the Web:

  • ECONOMYpolitica

    I would check it out. Awesome idea!

  • David

    So, essentially, it’s the Terminator ride/live show at Universal Studios that opened, like, 15 years ago.

  • Christopher Harvey

    Terrible. Hopefully it does not catch on in a cinema.

  • ProCynic

    Wasn’t this called CINERAMA back in the 50’s?

  • Jr

    This sounds awesome. Cinerama probably would have been a huge success when it was created if not for the many drawbacks which shouldn’t be a problem today. I’m surprised it’s taken this long for someone to bring this idea back.

  • devolutionary

    Nifty idea but like current 3D, this would only benefit audiences if it doesn’t distract (or nauseate) the viewer from the films themselves. I suppose that lies in the hands of the directors though. I could see people with ADHD not being able to adjust to this properly.

  • kyri

    isn’t it just fascinating how they always look to find the ‘gimmick’ and the magic ‘recipe’ behind any new success.. How about try making a good film for a change?

  • Dooobie

    Napoléon by Abel Gance from 1927 had a tryptich sequence using three projectors at the same time in a horizontal row, because he thought that the finale would not have the proper impact. I would love to see Napoléon in ScreenX! Abel Gance called it Polyvision:
    And I couldn’t care less about the Jim Kee-woon film and Samsonite.

  • Musikonica

    I could see things like having a character running from your right hand side down to the main screen to wind up in a fight. Dragon Ball Z, Tekken, Street Fighter, Marvel, DC, those kinds of movies, could use that effect so when characters clash in a fight, they have some real room in between them for running towards one another, clashing in the middle screen… Racing movies could look alright as long as when the car speeds into the middle screen, it remains there for a bit before zipping off to the next side screen…
    From an audience point of view, would this help or further hurt a person’s neck when looking up for 2 hours and then adding turning necks quickly? I imagine it’d help because while you might still be looking up, you’re constantly turning your head.
    But that could be a movie downside as the audience could miss key parts anytime they see a shadow next to them and think it’s a character or important part. And with an audience, you never know who may move their arm to cause shadows.

    I like this idea, if executed right. It could add some excitement, but there’s a lot of movies where you just won’t need it. So I doubt every movie would be made also in this format, like every movie’s also made in 3D. But that wouldn’t be much of a problem since they can just keep screens and projectors off. However if that’s the case, is the upgrade worth it coming so soon after upgrading for 3D movies? The more gimmicks they try to add to movie theaters, the faster they’ll wind up bleeding their wallets dry. Just my thought.

  • Yup.