Warning: Spoilers ahead if you haven’t watched “Black Panther.”
“Black Panther” is ruling the box office with an iron fist and as film exhibition technology advances, movie fans have more choices when it comes to seeing blockbusters: There’s 3D, IMAX and now there’s also ScreenX, a process developed in Korea and the tech company works with movie companies to extend certain sequences to accommodate the expanded panoramic shots.
Insider visited the CGV Cinema in Los Angeles to watch “Black Panther” in ScreenX to give you an idea of what the experience is like.
Why you should care: It’s a very rare experience.
“Black Panther” is the first Marvel movie incorporating ScreenX technology in a theater equipped with six projectors that help to immerse viewers in 270-degree panorama shots during certain sequences of a film. While ScreenX is available in 8 countries and 131 screens, only three of them are in the US.
What’s hot: There are several scenes that are vastly enhanced in ScreenX.
A handful of sequences get a boost from the ScreenX technology and most of them involve sweeping vista shots of Wakanda. When T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman), General Okoye (Danai Gurira), and Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) are on board the ship flying into Wakanda and T’Challa takes in the breathtaking view and says, “This never gets old.” The view is even more beautiful as it takes up most of the audience’s peripheral view in the theatre but it doesn’t take long to notice the expanded visual on the theatre walls isn’t nearly as rich as the main screen.
The ScreenX shot again expands the vastness of the Wakanda waterfalls as the format allows us to take in an even more expansive view of T’Challa on board the spaceship that’s delivering him to the Wakanda waterfalls for his royal coronation. During the coronation ritual, ScreenX surrounds viewers with the vivid colors of the Astral Plane, drawing us into the emotional moment.
When the story shifts to Busan, South Korea, the dazzling car chase scene – it’s the one you know from the TV commercials for the film where Black Panther and his sister Shuri chase the villain Klaue and his entourage. The ScreenX view envelops viewers as the cars careen through the Busan streets.
During the climactic Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan)/T’Challa fight on the train track, the tussle is illuminated by the vibranium track lights and broken up by lightening-fast trains whizzing by. The ScreenX process almost makes viewers feel like they’re on the tracks watching the fight. Almost.
What’s not: The visual quality may not live up to other viewing experiences.
In a “Star Wars”-esque sequence, Agent Ross (Martin Freeman) assists in defending Wakanda by flying a ship designed by T’Challa’s sister Shuri, and with her coaching, he shoots down enemy ships commanded by interloper king Killmonger. During this part of the film, all we could think was that Industrial Light and Magic has spoiled us for all movie spaceship sequences.
The bottom line: For the money, IMAX and other ways of viewing movies is a comparable experience.
While some of the African vista shots are beautiful, the visual quality of the extended footage projected onto the ScreenX theatre walls is not of the same high quality as the main film footage. Also, depending on the theatre you choose, the sound quality isn’t on par with the visuals. The ticket price in Los Angeles starts at $18.25 and there’s an added online booking fee. For that price, fans will have to decide if there’s enough bang for their buck. While we enjoyed some of the expanded visuals, the overall experience was underwhelming.
Watch a trailer for “Black Panther” in ScreenX below: