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IMAX continues VR expansion, partners with HTC Vive and more

The company will open four new pilot IMAX VR centers in the coming months across the US and China

Last May, the IMAX corporation announced plans to get into the virtual reality space with support from Starbreeze and film director Michael Bay. Today, during the unveiling of its flagship IMAX VR Experience Center in Los Angeles, the company outlined further plans to attract the public to its VR initiatives.

From a technology standpoint, IMAX has joined Warner Brothers / Time Warner, Twentieth Century Fox, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), Westfield Corporation, Bold Capital Partners, and Steven Spielberg as first-round investors in Dreamscape Immersive, a "ground-breaking technology" to establish VR as the fourth platform for movies alongside 2D, 3D and IMAX. Additionally, IMAX has signed a new technology and content partnership to incorporate HTC Vive headset technology and location-based specific VR content into its IMAX VR centers.

Just like in the home, compelling content will be key to attracting customers to VR. To that end, IMAX has also teamed up with Ubisoft and Skydance Interactive to release five VR experiences at its VR centers. Ubisoft has agreed to release the Rabbids VR-Ride, along with VR games Eagle Flight and the upcoming Star Trek: Bridge Crew. Furthermore, Skydance Interactive, which is the interactive arm of David Ellison's Skydance Media, intends to release two of its upcoming VR games to IMAX VR centers. The first is Life VR, which is based on the upcoming feature film starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, and Ryan Reynolds, due out on March 24th. The second is Archangel, the studio's first original title, a story-driven shooter built for VR due in July.

Moving forward, having already signed last October with ODEON & UCI Cinemas Group to install the first pilot IMAX VR center in Europe, IMAX has agreed to open four new pilot IMAX VR centers in the coming months across the US and China. Guangzhou JinYi Media Corporation (JinYi), one of the largest exhibitors in China, will install a pilot IMAX VR Center in Shanghai at JinYi's prominent Shanghai Hongkou Plaza multiplex, while AMC Theatres have agreed to install a pilot IMAX VR Center at a high-profile AMC location in New York and Regal Entertainment Group announced an agreement to install pilot IMAX VR centers at two of Regal's locations in New York City and California. The companies said that they are currently assessing the sites to determine where the VR Centers should be installed.

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