IMAX Plans to Open Six VR Theaters This Year


IMAX is hoping to bring virtual reality into the mainstream and is partnering with Starbreeze and Google to make it happen.

Following IMAX’s Google VR camera announcement, IMAX announced on Friday that they will be creating virtual reality entertainment hubs for movie theaters, shopping malls and tourists spots.

The cinema company most known for their theater technology will be launching up to six sites this year in the United States and international markets. A test site for the first IMAX VR location has already been selected and according to the Wall Street Journal will be built in Los Angeles.

IMAX has partnered with Stockholm-based Starbreeze to leverage their StarVR headset technology, which provides a 210-degree field of view. As part of the partnership, Starbreeze’s existing library of VR entertainment content and games will be made available to consumers as well as the premium content resulting from the IMAX Google VR camera. IMAX will also look to establish new VR content partnerships through its existing Hollywood filmmaker and studio relationships. Meanwhile, Starbreeze will bring new interactive content through its publishing and partnerships in the gaming industry, which includes its relationship with leading Hollywood studio Lionsgate, with whom Starbreeze is developing its John Wick VR game as well as others.

IMAX chief executive Richard Gelfond told the Journal that the  “VR experiences” will last 10 minutes and cost $7 to $10.

“I’ve always been a big believer in IMAX, which has been a great longtime partner,” said leading Hollywood director Michael Bay. “As a filmmaker, IMAX’s location-based VR offering presents an exciting opportunity to transport audiences even further into the worlds we create. We are in advanced discussions with IMAX now on some fun VR concepts and I look forward to test-driving their new technology.”

Starbreeze STAR VR HMD

Starbreeze’s STAR VR headset.

On Monday, Starbreeze announced that they were joining forces with Acer to refine and further develop the Star VR headset for arcades and theme parks. It is also unclear whether or not Starbreeze’s current plans to launch their first VR arcade in Los Angeles is related to the IMAX announcement, but it does appear LA is a focus for their initial entertainment initiatives.

About the Scout

Jonathan Nafarrete

Jonathan Nafarrete is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of VRScout.

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