Movie theaters have always been masters of the upcharge – whether it is popcorn, candy, or “premium movie formats.”
While formats like Cinemark XD, Regal RPX, and IMAX receive lots of attention, there are also motion seat options that aren’t discussed as often.
4DX, MX4D, and D-Box seats are available from a range of movie theaters. So if you have ever wanted to watch a movie theme park-style, with vibrating and moving seats, you’re in luck.
MX4D and 4DX add some gimmicks like fog, scents, and air/water jets to the moving seat experience, while the D-Box experience is nothing more than moving seats within an otherwise normal theater.
If you are interested in upgrading your movie experience in a peculiar way, keep reading for a discussion of the similarities and differences between these three seating options.
4DX provides the most effects with the highest intensity, but some viewers feel effects like fans and water are overdone and distracting at times.
MX4D provides similar effects to 4DX, but in a (slightly) more muted way that results in fewer distracting motions and less fan noise and water effects than 4DX.
D-Box is the least intense, least immersive theater experience of the three. It doesn’t include any of the “environmental effects” like scents, fog, or fans, but instead just features “special seats” in an otherwise regular theater.
Range of Effects
4DX markets itself as the “4th dimension” of moviegoing, with fans to blow air, jets to shoot water, scent effects, fog machines, and even bubbles and snow effects in addition to the moving chairs.
MX4D has similar “environmental effects” with scents, humidity, fog, blasts of wind, and chairs that can “tickle” and “punch” in addition to other motion.
D-Box, on the other hand, is just an upgraded, moving seat contained within an otherwise normal theater. So, there aren’t any fans, fog machines, or spraying water jets, since you are still sitting amongst a standard movie theater.
Ultimately, if you want the most intense experience available, choose 4DX. If you are concerned that some of the extra features will be distracting or unpleasant, MX4D should be slightly muted relative to 4DX. And if you want moving seats without a lot of other distraction, just find a D-Box seat in a regular theater.
To begin, some people can experience nausea in any of these seats (especially in the front row). If you are prone to motion sickness, I wouldn’t even bother with any of these seating options. But if you want to give it a shot, D-Box seats are nice because you can adjust the intensity of the chairs to any level you want.
With D-Box, even if you don’t like the movement of the chair, you can adjust the setting down and still get to watch a normal movie in an extremely comfortable, oversized chair. Sure, it isn’t worth the few dollars extra that you spent for the D-Box experience, but it is much better than being stuck in a theater with scents and fog machines that are driving you crazy.
4DX and MX4D are relatively similar in their movements. MX4D seats tilt in every direction, vibrate frequently, and add in some “punches” and air jets at the back of the neck and lower legs to simulate tickling. 4DX is similar, with seats that vibrate and pitch/roll as well as some “tickling” effects.
For fans of these seating options, the movements can provide an immersive experience that enhances your trip to the movies. For others, the constant vibration can feel overdone and sitting through a few hours of it can become monotonous.
Overall Theater & Availability
4DX theaters are available at Regal, Marcus, Cinepolis, and a few other smaller theater chains.
MX4D theaters are harder to find, but are mainly available at B&B Theaters and Showcase Cinemas.
D-Box seats are available at many Cinemark locations, but can also be found at many different branded cinemas (even including AMC and Regal).
So, 4DX and D-Box seats are much easier to find than MX4D. Because 4DX refers to the entire theater, whereas D-Box seats are special seats within a regular theater, there will be more D-Box showtimes than 4DX showtimes.
4DX vs. D-Box vs. MX4D: Are they worth it?
This is subjective, but we’ll give it our best attempt to answer the question.
For comedies and movies with very few action scenes – no, I wouldn’t pay extra for any of these premium experiences.
If I watch 4-5 movies at the theaters every month – no, I wouldn’t pay extra for a 4DX, D-Box, or MX4D seat every time.
But for a blockbuster that features a lot of action (Top Gun: Maverick is a perfect example), any of these premium seating options can be worth the extra price. Maybe you won’t love it, but it is certainly worth trying at least once.
To be clear, every one of these seats is a gimmick. If I am going to a Tuesday morning matinee (pro tip: Regal 4DX tickets are often discounted on Tuesdays), I don’t want to have bubbles or water sprayed at my face. I don’t care whether it is 4DX or MX4D.
But for a one-time experience, especially with an action movie, it is worth giving a try.
4DX, MX4D, and D-Box seats have some similarities – primarily that the seats rock, vibrate, twist, and tilt. Both D-Box and 4DX seats are easy to find, since they have partnered with a number of large theater chains. Alternatively, MX4D is not common in many regions, so it is less well-known.
4DX and MX4D both feature an immersive experience in addition to the moving seats, adding features like fog, scents, and even jets to spray air and water.
D-Box seats, on the other hand, are just upgraded mechanical seats in an otherwise normal movie theater. So, you won’t get the crazy effects like snow, fog, and scents.
Some users find these features to be gimmicky, while others love them, especially for action movies. Because 4DX and MX4D feature the most immersive experience, we wholeheartedly recommend trying these moving seats at least once. The two theater experiences are fairly similar, so just find which option is more convenient in your geographic region.