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Can Cineplex Inc. Give its Revenue a Boost With 4DX?

Cineplex Inc. (TSX:CGX) is Canada’s largest cinema and has been a favourite of dividend investors for the last few years. The stock has been relatively flat for the last two years, as it struggles to rally past the ceiling of resistance at the ~$51 mark.

The movie and popcorn business has been around for decades, but Cineplex might have a trick up its sleeve that will boost revenues going forward.

Introducing 4DX movies. Cineplex is launching a new format that combines the motion seat effects of DBOX as well as environmental effects such as rain, snow, wind, scents, and more, which are in sync with scenes shown in the movie that is playing.

South Korea invented the technology seven years ago, and the technology hopes to reinvent the movie theatre business by providing better entertainment for customers while increasing the company’s top and bottom line. I believe the technology will be a hit with fans and will combat the trend of people staying at home to watch movies.

Adult tickets cost $24.99 when combined with 3D, or $21.99 when just 2D. If you’ve had the chance to try DBOX at a Cineplex theatre, then you’ll know that the experience is a lot different than a typical movie.

Currently, there are about 300 4DX screens worldwide, but this number is expected to increase, as customers start delivering positive feedback to the new, immersive experience. Cineplex recently opened its first 4DX cinema in Toronto with Doctor Strange. Cineplex renovated one of its old theatres to include motion seats.

The early reviews of 4DX are quite positive and described as a wild ride. Cineplex definitely has a lot of revamping to do in order to meet the demand for this new experience, but I believe it will be a worthwhile investment if the new format is as successful as the roll-out of VIP cinema format.

In addition to this opportunity for growth, there’s the fantastic VIP format, which has attracted many affluent moviegoers who are willing to spend a little extra to get bigger seating area with more legroom and the ability to order exclusive food from the comfort of their seats.

The stock currently trades at a 25 price-to-earnings with a bountiful 3.2% dividend yield. The 4.3 price-to-book is more expensive than its five-year historical average value of 3.2, and the dividend is lower than its historical average of 3.8%. So the stock is definitely not cheap at current levels, especially considering the upward resistance preventing the stock from moving higher.

Although the growth opportunity for 4DX sounds promising, it will take a while to roll out new screens that can support this platform, and I believe it will be a cautious process, as the management team wants to see if the investment will pay off before it revamps a larger number of its theatres.

If 4DX is a hit, we might finally see Cineplex break through its ceiling of resistance and head to higher levels next year, but if you’re not a believer in 4DX, then you may want to wait until shares yield 4% before pulling the trigger because Cineplex is not a value pick at current levels.

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Fool contributor Joey Frenette has no position in any stocks mentioned.

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