Imax has completed the first phase of a $50M virtual reality fund between the global cinema format provider and other strategic investors to bankroll at least 25 interactive VR content experiences over the next three years in Imax VR centres. The monies will aid in the creation of higher-quality VR content that can be leveraged across the burgeoning VR industry. The group will focus their VR efforts on event-style productions with its major studio and filmmaker partners that complement Imax’s film slate. Other strategic investors include Acer, CAA, China Media Capital, Enlight Media, The Raine Group, Studio City and WPP.
“IMAX has built its legacy on using innovation and creative collaboration to drive the further adoption of new technologies. Today, we are expanding upon that legacy by teaming up with leaders across the media, entertainment and technology space to unlock a new level of premium, high-quality content for use throughout the VR ecosystem,” said IMAX Corp. CEO Richard L. Gelfond in a statement. “We will be leveraging our collective relationships with world-class filmmakers and content creators to fund VR experiences that excite and attract a larger user base to capitalize on opportunities across all VR platforms including IMAX VR.”
The first Imax VR centres are opening in Los Angeles and at ODEON & UCI Cinemas Group’s Printworks multiplex location in Manchester, England. Other test facilities are being eyed in China, Japan, the U.S., the Middle East and Western Europe in the coming months. Imax will assess various factors at these pilot locations including overall customer experience, pricing and the types of content featured. If successful, the intent is to ultimately roll out these centres around the world at movie theaters, tourist destinations and shopping locations.