Monday, November 7, 2011

Theater Gimmicks

Bored with 3D? Of course you are! Looking for the next big thing? Spy Kids 4D has the answer... maybe. The audience members will receive scratch and sniff cards that they're suppose to smell at certain points during the film. The way it works is that numbers will actually appear on the movie screen in the middle of the movie. The audience is then suppose to scratch the corresponding number and, well, sniff.

While this is an interesting gimmick I doubt it'll catch on as an industry trend. Who wants to come out of the movie experience altogether to interact with a piece of cardboard? I know a movie is good when I get completely immersed in it and forget all about the outside world. The Aroma-Scope takes me away from the movie and back to the real world. I'd say the best thing about this attempt at movie innovation is the publicity Spy Kids 4D got from it.

Not that stunts like this are all that new. A recent Time magazine article detailed quite a few theater tricks that were tried and failed. Among them is Smell-O-Vision. Smell-O-Vision filled the entire theater with smells at different times in the show. At least you didn't have to use a piece of cardboard. Then there was the Tingler which vibrated the seat of movie patrons for the movie, The Tingler (appropriately enough). Sensurround, Psychorama, Hypnovision, Cinerama, and the list could go on.

When are studios going to learn - audiences don't want cheap tricks and gimmicks. So, in other words - Hollywood, if you want our "scratch" you'll produce a quality product or you'll "sniff" and wimper when you see your box office recipes.

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