Virtual Reality May Be Coming to a Theater Near You

IMAX plans to open a chain of VR centers around the world

October 13, 2016 9:00 am

If a new initiative from IMAX works, that stash of stolen 3D glasses you’ve been compiling since Avatar came out is going to be more worthless than it already is.

The film format corporation has reached an agreement with the largest cinema chain in Europe, Odeon & UCI Cinemas Group, to open an IMAX VR center at a theater in Manchester in the UK.

Filled with virtual reality pods for experiencing VR content while moving around and headsets for playing VR games and watching short VR films, the center should open by the end of 2016.

It won’t be available when the center opens, but IMAX eventually plans to integrate premium content shot with the cinema-grade VR camera that it’s currently developing with Google.

IMAX — which is working to open similar test sites in LA, China, Japan and the Middle East  — wants to launch the VR centers globally if the Manchester multiplex location is a success.

“The agreement with ODEON marks an important milestone in our continued effort to deliver differentiated entertainment experiences — now through location-based VR,” said IMAX CEO Richard Gelfond. “We are extremely pleased with the significant progress we’ve made on this initiative in this short period of time.”

Could be worth a trip across the pond.

The InsideHook Newsletter.

News, advice and insights for the most interesting person in the room.