Who is the IMAX of VR? That’s the question the suits at IMAX heard over and over until they finally decided that they could leverage their partnerships with theaters and studios to take a new approach to the movie-going experience.
IMAX held a press day in New York on Thursday to show off its fancy new activation at the AMC theater Kips Bay 15 on Manhattan’s east side. IMAX partnered with AMC to turn a mostly empty theater lobby space into VR “pods” where guests can pay to play virtual reality games, including one experience tying into The Mummy film.
At the event, IMAX announced a three film deal with Warner Bros. beginning with Justice League. They’ll then do an Aquaman VR experience and another Warner Bros. film to be determined at a later date.
“The Warner Bros. partnership was always our premise for getting into this business,” said IMAX Chief Business Development Officer Robert Lister. “The same people we had multi-film deals with, we cut multi-VR deals with. That allows us to leverage off these gigantic marketing campaigns. That was the model we built.”
The IMAX/Warner Bros. games will be exclusive to the IMAX VR activations for a window of time, but will be released on other VR platforms for users.
IMAX also greenlit a project from Bullit, a company run by filmmakers the Russo Brothers (Captain America: Civil War) and Justin Lin (Star Trek: Beyond). They’ll be producing an escape room experience.
For now, only two IMAX experiences are open, the other is in Los Angeles. The NYC activation opened Memorial Day Weekend. It’s permanent and the first of its kind for a movie theater. IMAX’s L.A. experience is not located in a theater. Already, they say the NYC theater activation is outpacing sales for L.A. given the foot traffic to one of AMC’s busiest theaters.
Guests can order tickets to play like you would purchase a ticket for a film. The cost of each experience is between $10-15, essentially a dollar per minute. We’ll get into the specifics of the games in a follow-up article. I’ll add the link here when it’s ready.