When IMAX said that it was keen to push virtual reality technology, it wasn’t kidding. The company has recently raised $50 million in order to develop the immersive experiences it wants to put in multiplexes around the world.
IMAX has already begun testing VR technology in some of its cinemas, with IMAX VR centres set to open in Los Angeles and at Odeon & UCI Cinemas Group’s Printworks multiplex location in Manchester, UK.
Despite the initial roll-out, IMAX realised that in order to revolutionise the way movie buffs experience films, it needed outside cash to fund the development. That’s why the company has enlisted high-profile partners to help with the journey – which includes Acer, CAA, China Media Capital, Enlight Media, The Raine Group, Studio City and WPP.
IMAX says that it will use the $50 million raised from its partners to help finance the creation of at least 25 interactive VR content experiences over the next three years for use across all VR platforms, including in IMAX VR centres. The group will target premium, event-style productions with its Hollywood studio and filmmaker partners that complement IMAX’s film slate, as well as gaming publishers and other leading content developers.
“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,” notes IMAX Corp. CEO Richard L. Gelfond.
“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 capitalise on opportunities across all VR platforms including IMAX VR.”
Today’s announcement is also related to IMAX’s efforts to provide its upcoming IMAX VR centres an ongoing array of premium interactive content experiences that let users see, feel, move and play in new worlds in a powerfully immersive and realistic way.
The company, which is already in advanced discussions with numerous content developers – including Hollywood studios and gaming publishers – intends to utilise the cinema-grade virtual reality camera that it is currently developing in partnership with Google for several of the projects.
“With VR in its ascendancy, this initiative is a key step in ensuring that more high-quality content makes its way to various VR platforms, including IMAX VR centres,” adds IMAX chief business development officer, Robert D. Lister.
“We were extremely pleased with the significant interest we received from such a prominent group of investors, and together, we look forward to helping usher in the next generation of highly differentiated, highly immersive VR content experiences to audiences worldwide.”