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IMAX set to open first VR movie theaters later this year

by Jacob Kleinman | May 20, 2016May 20, 2016 2:00 pm PST

IMAX is expanding into virtual reality and it’s ready to hit the ground running. The company is gearing up to open six new VR theaters this year at multiplexes and malls around the world.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the first IMAX VR venue will be located in Los Angeles, with plans to expand into China later. CEO Richard Gelfond says the company will offer short 10-minute experiences likely related to current blockbuster movies for $7-$10. That may sound pricey, but he’s confident people will pay for a unique experience.

“Virtual reality in the home is going to be a crowded space, but we thought the idea of doing VR in the multiplex of the future was a place where we can provide a superior experience and a social experience, which are the same reasons people go to movies,” Gelfond told WSJ.

As for the actual hardware, IMAX is partnering with Starbreeze Studios to use its new recently announced headset (pictured above). StarVR offers an impressive 210-degree field of view. That’s almost double what the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive are capable of.

IMAX is mostly known for its massive movie theater screening rooms, but the company is already making a strong push into virtual reality. It’s set to offer an IMAX app for Google’s new Daydream VR platform, and the two companies are also working on a 360-degree camera set to launch in about 18 months.

WSJ StarVR

Jacob Kleinman

Jacob Kleinman has been working as a journalist online and in print since he arrived at Wesleyan University in 2007. After graduating, he took a...

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