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Motion-enhanced seats drive moviegoers to Apple Valley

APPLE VALLEY • When Hugh Jackman hits the silver screen Friday, local moviegoers will have the chance to experience the futuristic world of robot boxing from motion-enhanced seats designed to move in perfect sync with the onscreen action.

The DreamWorks Pictures blockbuster “Real Steel” will be the 29th film shown in D-BOX by the UltraStar theater in Apple Valley, at Central and Bear Valley roads one block east of Apple Valley High School. The local theater launched D-Box seating in 2009, when the only other California site was more than 60 miles away at the famous Mann Chinese 6 Theatre in Hollywood.

Now, there are five other sites offering the technology in Southern California and 108 locations worldwide.

“It’s grown tremendously. It’s been massively successful and well-received,” said Damon Rubio, vice president of operations for UltraStar Cinemas. “We get people driving from the L.A. area to come and experience it in D-BOX because they don’t have it in their local town.”

For an extra $8, moviegoers can sit in one of 22 seats in the middle of Auditorium 2 that tilt and elevate or shift side to side in subtle, refined movements that are custom coded frame by frame to the movie.

“The chairs are built to mimic whatever action’s happening on the screen,” Rubio said, be it the pack of a steel punch in the boxing ring or the jerk of a car spinning during a high-speed chase.

For those who are skeptical of the higher price tag, Ultra Star offers visitors the opportunity to try out a sample D-BOX seat for free in the lobby.

The action-thriller “Real Steel” is set in the near future and stars Jackman as Charlie Kenton, a washed-up fighter who lost his chance at the title when 2,000-pound, 8-foot tall steel robots took over the ring. Kenton hits rock bottom as the underdog but gets one last chance at his comeback.

The next film in D-BOX will be The Three Musketeers, set for release Oct. 21.

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