State-of-the-art theaters transform experience for moviegoers in China

World Today

The big screen is transforming into something even bigger as virtual-reality cinemas pop up across China, and they are turning the movie experience into quite an adventure. CGTN’s Frances Kuo reports.

The traditional experience of watching a movie in theater is pretty simple.

“There is one screen and 200 to 500 audience members watch the same screen,” said Liu Bing Jian, VP of Supersonic Film Technology Limited Co. “Every seat has a different angle toward the screen.”

But some theaters in China are upping the ante. “Er Dong Pictures” plans to build a flagship virtual reality cinema in Beijing and its the third in the country. Some lucky movie goers have already received the chance to test what the experience might be in “Er Dong Pictures” 200 meters long theater that is designed to look like the inside of a spacecraft.

“The seats can spin. This function allows the audience to turn around to see places that they could not see before,” Liu said. “For example, we turn around, but there is an angle. When I turn to the side, I cannot see what’s behind me. The spinning seats allow us to see.”

The chairs will all have built-in virtual reality headsets to help create an individualized personal touch as it seeks to push the viewing experience to a whole new level.

“Quite dreamlike. Many dinosaurs came alive,” said a movie-goer. “It seemed like I could touch them, and they stayed next to me.”

The first VR theater was built in Amsterdam in 2016 and it has come a long way in just two years.

According to advisory firm Price-Waterhouse-Coopers, 85 million VR headsets will be in use in China by 2021 and the revenue from VR content could reach more than $3.5 billion.

Tech writer Barry Whyte talks about Virtual Reality movie theaters

CGTN’s Elaine Reyes spoke with Barry Whyte, business contributor at @ForbesTech, about the rise of Virtual Reality movie theaters.