Warner Partners With Imax for VR Experience28 Mar, 2017 By: Erik Gruenwedel
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment is partnering with Imax Corp. to bring the virtual reality (VR) experience to theaters and in the home.
The studio March 28 announced a co-financing and production agreement to develop and release three interactive VR experiences based on upcoming Warner theatrical releases Justice League, Aquaman and a third yet to be announced title.
Long a staple of video games, VR is attempting to segue into movie theaters and home entertainment.
“Using content and characters from these upcoming films and incorporating creative direction from some of Hollywood's most innovative filmmakers will help us to bring a groundbreaking experience to audiences and consumers who are hungry for a cutting-edge virtual reality experience,” Ron Sanders, president, Warner Bros. Worldwide Home Entertainment Distribution, said in a statement.
Last summer, Warner collaborated with Samsung for VR content related to Suicide Squad. The VR material enabled viewers — using Samsung’s $99 VR headset manufactured by Oculus — to experience what it’s like to be a member of the 'Squad' in a scene from the film.
Imax, which has spearheaded the 3D theatrical market for years, in 2016 launched the Imax VR Fund aimed at financing roughly 25 interactive VR content experiences over the next three years –with studio and filmmaker partners, as well as gaming publishers and other content developers.
In January, Imax bowed its pilot Imax VR Centre in Los Angeles, and is set to open at five additional venues in New York, California, the U.K. and Shanghai in the coming few months.
Imax plans to use these pilot locations to test overall customer VR experience, pricing models and the types of content featured. If successful, the intent is to roll out the concept globally to select multiplexes as well as commercial locations such as shopping centers and tourist destinations.
“A key component of our vision for VR is to help usher in the first wave of high-end blockbuster-based content,” said Imax CEO Richard Gelfond. "[Warner Bros.] content will introduce audiences to virtual reality in standalone and multiplex-based Imax VR centres as well as other platforms."