Shawnee movie theater first in the region to offer 4D special effects
Now, you can experience rain, snow and wind, among other elements, during a movie in Shawnee.
It’s all part of the new MX4D Motion EFX theater at B&B Shawnee 18.
The movie complex is breaking into the fourth dimension as it rolls out the next phase of its comprehensive theater remodel.
Using MX4D by MediaMation, the latest 4D technology, the theater will offer an immersive environment where guests can feel the Hollywood action through built-in motion and effects in the seats and the surrounding theater.
Seats move in sync with onscreen action and special EFX generators bring the movie to life with wind, water effects, jolts, pokes and scents.
The theater is the fifth one of its kind in the United States. Two 4D theaters are in California, with two others in the northeast. It is the first one in the Midwest.
Movies showcased in the 4D technology, will be mostly action, horror and animation.
B&B invited media and special guests to the theater on Thursday evening to test out the 4D action with a demo, involving clips from the film “Mad Max: Fury Road.”
Journalists, residents and even children squealed in delight as their chairs tilted and bounced, water sprayed them in the face and fog erupted near the screen.
Although in the demo, seats shifted considerably, Brock Bagby, vice president of development for B&B Theatres, told the Dispatch that during a typical film in the 4D theater, seat movement will only be about 20 to 30 percent of the time.
“It’s meant to enhance the experience, not overwhelm you,” he also told the audience.
Brock and his B&B team have been working to secure 4D technology for the past three years.
They’re excited to bring it to Shawnee.
“Millennials and baby boomers want options,” he said. “It’s not just about going to a theater to see a movie anymore, so we need to be innovative.”
The MX4D theater isn’t the only unique aspect of B&B Shawnee 18.
In the past year, the company has been undergoing a comprehensive remodel and redesign, with every aspect of the facility updated.
The complex now has a full-service bar and kitchen, replaced static seats with electric recliners, and offers movies in various formats, such as ScreenPLAY and the large format, GRAND SCREEN.
“This is a theater which had gotten tired, but it offered so much potential, which was exciting,” Bagby said. “In a modern multiplex you don’t often see 18 screens, so we had room to be different.”
Before MX4D, the latest format to be unveiled at B&B Shawnee 18 was ScreenPLAY, an interactive family auditorium featuring a full-size climbing playground, toddler area and a giant slide.
The colorful theater, which offers a 15-minute intermission and 20-minute pre-show play, is meant to accommodate families with very young children.
Similar to MX4D, ScreenPLAY is the first one in the region and only third one in the country.
In addition to the new movie features, a new live theater is under construction at Shawnee B&B 18.
Partnering with Music Theatre Kansas City, it is renovating a large movie theater in the movie complex, which will one day include a 1,000 square-foot stage, theater lighting, fly space, a rehearsal hall, dressing rooms and office space.
The initial phase is projected to be completed by October.
In two years, Brock said they hope to start the second phase, which will incorporate the larger amenities.
The new thrills and renovation at Shawnee B&B 18 seem to be working in its favor.
Brock told the Dispatch that business has doubled since the theater re-opened.