Virtual reality is about to have its big screen moment soon. Up until now, we’ve seen studios bring movies to life in headsets with shorter VR experiences or location-based activations. But what we haven’t seen is a VR short turned into a Hollywood feature film.
Two studios are hoping to change that.
Roth Kirschenbaum Films, the producers who reimagined Alice’s adventures in Wonderland, tamed Snow White’s Huntsman, and introduced a softer Maleficent, is teaming up with Baobab Studios to bring the characters and story of INVASION! to the big screen.
INVASION! is a six-minute animated VR short created earlier this year by Baobab Studios and revolves around bumbling aliens who try to destroy earth but are thwarted by two bunnies, one of which is actually you in a 360-degree bunny body. Ethan Hawke narrated the VR experience which has received wide praise when it premiered at Tribeca and Cannes during the year.
The VR piece, which possesses a beautiful DreamWorks Animation-like feel to it, has no shortage of talent in developing the story and characters for traditional film. Joe Roth, renowned Hollywood producer known for twists to films from children’s story classics, and Jeffrey Kirschenbaum, former Universal co-president, will collaborate with Baobab’s Eric Darnell (DreamWorks), Maureen Fan (Zynga, Pixar) and Kane Lee (Blue Sky Studios) on the INVASION! film.
“VR has great storytelling power,” said Darnell. “We’re thrilled to work with top Hollywood creatives Joe and Jeffrey.”
Although taking VR animation to the big screen might not be what many envisioned as a way to move the medium forward, this is a clear sign that Hollywood is paying attention, all while running opposite to the belief that popular traditional movie franchises is what is needed to make VR popular.