Movies And The Culture Of Innovation

Think assigned seating and full meal table service are the future of the movie theater? Think bigger….much bigger There is a good chance that what Movie Theatres will evolve into will be almost entertainment theme parks. Here is one example,

Recently, Orbi, a first of its kind high-tech cinema-based experiment opened to public in Yokohama, Japan in late 2013. Combining cutting edge SEGA gaming technology and BBC Earth motion picture content, Orbi takes viewers on trip utiulizing all four senses.. The Orbi theatres features one of the largest screens in the world, with dimensions measuring and an amazing 131 ft W x 26 ft H. This innovation shows one way in which theaters may have to transform in response to the growing competition with emerging media. No I am not suggesting hat you follow the same path, but look at instilling a cutlutre of innovation within your own organization.

From the SEGA/BBC press release:

The first attraction of its kind in the world, Orbi fuses BBC Earth’s world-leading nature content with SEGA’s cutting edge technology to create an entertainment experience that will plunge visitors into the heart of the natural world – this is nature supercharged. Orbi has been developed by teams in Japan and the UK over the past two years since SEGA and BBC Earth, BBC Worldwide’s global natural history brand partnered to create the new attraction in June 2011.

“Orbi is a thrilling way to bring our natural history content to life” said Amanda Hill, BBC Worldwide’s Chief Brands Officer “By partnering with SEGA and fusing our nature expertise with their innovative technology we are able to bring people closer to natures wonders than would ever be possible in real life using the magic of technology to create a truly extraordinary entertainment experience with our amazing planet at its heart.”

“Orbi is a supercharged nature experience that will appeal to people of all nationalities and generations,” said Mr Tsurumi, President and COO, SEGA Corporation. “A fascination with nature is shared by us all. Through our Partnership with the global brand ‘BBC Earth’ we’ve created an attraction that is unique and different from other entertainment facilities and it is our intention that Orbi Yokohama will be a showcase for partners across the world. We aim to roll out this first entertainment experience of its kind globally. I, as a representative of this project, am truly looking forward to sharing Orbi’s unforgettable nature experience with people all over the globe.”

The BBC has been at the forefront of natural history film making for over 50 years, capturing all forms of life and bringing incredible stories and characters to audiences worldwide. Groundbreaking series such as Blue Planet, Planet Earth and Life have revealed new insights about our planet in astonishing high definition. SEGA is a creative powerhouse that develops real game changing entertainment concepts using technology innovation. Orbi is the latest of these, using cutting edge technology to bring people closer to nature than they ever imagined could be possible, nowhere else can you experience life at the centre of a wildebeest herd or in the deepest ocean depths. A multi-sensory experience, Orbi invites you to touch, smell, see and hear our planet as you explore each interactive experience, every step bringing you closer to our planet. 

The attraction features a main theatre and 12 walk-through entertainment experiences for visitors to explore. The main theatre is equipped with one of the largest screens in Japan (40 m W × 8 m H) and will show bespoke new films from BBC EARTH, produced and edited exclusively for Orbi. The entertainment experiences draw on animal and nature themes using allowing visitors to experience the full variety of life on earth, journeying through deep sea and arctic regions, the jungle and the skies above us, all brought to life using physical sensations, astonishing imagery, high-tech sound installations and scent technology.

The Japan opening of Orbi is a world-first and it is SEGA and BBC Earth’s ambition to open further Orbi installations across the globe. Inviting people all around the world to dive in and meet their planet as they’ve never experienced it before by taking a trip to Orbi.

End of press release

What this means to you the theatre owner or movie goer is that the demand for experience is going to be at the forefront. That movies are going to have to become more immersive and much more enagaging if as a medium they are to endure. The word unique in movie will become increasingly more important. And that has nothing to do with technology

The border between reality and the media we view is really starting to become very blurry and it is becoming very obvious that some of us are much more comfortable in a media manipulated world. People’s thoughts, experiences and behavior are more than starting to be defined by those who design and implement the software we consume. We are in a mass of marketing and politics messages that have polluted the digital landscape. As we begin to defer to the message of the medium, we as humans will have to become increasingly media literate. We as motion picture professional will have to find ways to combine both immersive changes in media and the still deep need for communal experience that movie going can best offer.

As motion picture professionals we will either have to provide independent and alternative content or we will soon find ourselves overcome with a tsunami of corporately skewed content. Technology is often thought to be an easy fix but often for the small theatre it can be a death knell. It is more imperative to look an innovative programming and reflect the attitudes and needs of the community you serve.

Some ideas;

1. More interactive performance driven movie screenings ie Rifftrax and Rocky Horror like shows
2. Include travelogues into you programming schedule
3. Look to expand your alternative content offerings
4. Re-invent the matinee experience by incorporating video gaming tournaments
5. Program singalong movies like Mama Mia
6. Develop thematic nights
7. Bring classical music and concert performances onto your screen
8. Begin to look at South Asian, Latino and other foreign language programming
9. Celebrate your community by the inclusion of local talent
10. Develop three week alternative content rotation

It is most likely that you do not have the very deep pockets that a SEGA or BBC have, but you do have the ability to innovate. It’s that spirit of innovation that will be compelling to your local audiences and will allow you to continually re-define your place in the emerging media landscape. It will make you successful