People now agree, with the success of Avatar and Toy Story 3, that 3D movies are here to stay. But the truth is that humanity is hungry for novelty, and that once home 3D televisions become commonplace, we will look for greater entertainment value from our theatres. I predict that within 10 years we will start watching four-dimensional and perhaps even five-dimensional films.
But what will a 4D film look like? Actually, the film won't look very different, but you will experience the film across time, so that you will have already watched the first half of the film by the time you sit down in the theatre. This has the great advantage of allowing you to leave halfway through and still have seen the whole film, which is great for avoiding the post-movie bar rush.
Unfortunately, if the film is total crap, then you'll be aware of how terrible it is before you even get in the car to drive to the theatre (not to mention the difficulties involved in driving and watching a film at the same time). Nor is it possible to change your mind at that point and stay home; if you're seeing the film prior to screening time, logic dictates that you will arrive at the 4D cineplex, buy your ticket and make your way into the theatre, even though you've spent the last hour miserably aware that you're about to waste your money on some tasteless piece of schlock. Good luck trying to buy a ticket and get a refund at the same time. I predict great increases in surliness and angry tweets in our entertainment future.
Not only will you be watching the movie about an hour before it begins, the temporal extension effect of 4D film means that you will continue to watch it even after the film is over. This sounds like an unbelievable annoyance, but it's actually the handiest feature of the new technology. 4D technology enhances post-movie discussion and argument because the details of the film remain fresh in your memory. It's more fun to debate the ending of Mulholland Drive when you're still watching it at the bar with your friends.
It's important to distinguish between movies that are filmed in 4D and those that are converted to 4D in post-production. Often a post-conversion simply means that the temporal editors tranpose three copies of the film with different start times. The result, as you can imagine, is an incomprehensible mess.
There is also the matter of the special 4D helmets that permit the viewer to enjoy the film without glimpsing the 'void between' and going hopelessly insane.
When 5D eventually comes out it will blow 4D out of the water. 5D movies not only extend into the past and the future, but forwards and backwards as well. The movie screen will become a reference point for a spatial and temporal hypercube field.
Some cinemas may have to reconfigure the placement of screens, since a screen placed near the back wall will result in a movie easily viewed by teenagers congregating behind the theatre in bootleg 5D movie viewing envirosuits, smoking futuristic cigarettes and drinking futuristic wine coolers.