Saudi Arabia just had its first film screening in three decades earlier this month, but the country will soon get one of the most technologically advanced theatrical experiences around. Korean company CJ4DPLEX has partnered with a local cinema chain to open three of its 4DX theaters in the kingdom by the end of 2018. A 4DX theater is almost more of an amusement park ride than a typical movie experience, as seats move and shake to the action, and are equipped with water jets and scent sprayers to really set the mood.
The 4DX experience is certainly not for everyone, but it’s growing in popularity, with 500 auditoriums open worldwide as of this month. It also lets theaters charge more. A ticket to the new Dwayne Johnson blockbuster “Rampage” in 3D at a 4DX theater in Los Angeles goes for $25, compared with $21 for the regular 3D version. And Saudi Arabia’s large population of young people with disposable income makes it an ideal market. But with Hollywood studios and theater chains betting so much on a movie market that remains completely unproven, they’re also trying not to be taken for a ride.