SSN Commentary

Can 4DX Save Movie Theaters? Only if It Can Offer Up Collective Joy

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San Francisco State University

Originally published in The Washington Post on July 22, 2022.

Movies are back!”

It’s the refrain of the summer. And perhaps it’s true. “Top Gun: Maverick” has broken box office records, making that movie — still only in theaters — Tom Cruise’s highest-grossing film ever. Other big-budget movies, like “Thor: Love and Thunder” and “Jurassic World: Dominion,” have outperformed many pre-pandemic blockbusters. And now Jordan Peele’s latest horror flick, “Nope,” which opens across the United States on Friday, offers more of what these and other films have promised theater audiences, including illustrious stars, delightful jump-scares and breathtaking special effects.

Moviegoers choosing among this year’s theater releases, including “Nope,” will find not just the classic big-screen option but also the opportunity to try something new — most notably, the immersive 4DX experience, a multisensory movie ride featuring rocking seats, flashing lights, smoke machines, misted scents and even “snowfall” choreographed with scenes on the big screen.