A multi-million dollar update to Regal Cinema’s Westfield theater includes an auditorium capable of lightning, rain, vibrations and other sensory effects timed to the action on the big screen.
Regal Village Park, at 2222 E. 146th St., is scheduled to undergo a complete renovation starting this spring. A portion of the 59,000-square-foot theater built in 1993 will remain open as Regal spends a year updating its facilities with new viewing and concession options, including the state’s first 4DX auditorium.
“We’re continually looking at how to make Regal the best place to watch a movie,” said Heather Peters, director of public relations for Knoxville, Tennessee-based Regal. “What we want to do is offer our moviegoers a choice.” Peters said the renovation will be a multi-million-dollar project but wouldn’t give an exact cost.
The 4DX theater experience features environmental effects synchronized with what’s happening in the movie. An audience member’s seat may tilt or vibrate as the protagonist narrowly evades an explosion. Viewers may be sprayed or misted with water, covered in fog or sprinkled with snow to simulate the movie’s change in weather. Some films even include scenes that trigger machines to release bubbles or scents, like burnt rubber.
Peters said South Korea-based CJ 4DPLEX and United Kingdom-based Cineworld Group, Regal’s parent company, announced in April 2018 plans to bring 85 4DX theaters to the United States. According to the CJ 4DPLEX website, the company has already implemented 4DX technology in 671 theaters around the world.
Peters said Regal hasn’t established pricing yet for tickets to a 4DX experience at Regal Village Park, but other 4DX auditoriums operating in other states give a clue as to how much the enhanced experience will cost.
In Chicago, one adult ticket to see a 4DX movie during the day is around $20. Evening shows are around $23. Tickets are slightly cheaper in other markets, like Charlotte, North Carolina, where adult 4DX tickets are around $18 during the day and $20 in the evening.
Ultimately, Regal Village Park’s renovation will reduce the number of seats from 2,900 to around 2,000.
The number of auditoriums will also drop, from 17 to 15, but four of the updated auditoriums will be built to cater to a VIP experience. The separately ticketed VIP package gives audiences the option to sit in a recliner, as well as access to an exclusive food-and-beverage lounge.
Customers who don’t opt for the VIP option will still have the ability to buy beer, wine and cocktails at a bar in the lobby. Other facets of the theater’s renovation will update the building’s exterior, lobby, concession stand, restrooms, hallways, auditoriums, projectors and sound systems.