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If everything goes according to plan, Elvis Presley will be shaking his hips on Broadway in 2016 while Ray Charles croons in Las Vegas. What’s more, Edward Snowden could be arriving in time to crash the U.S. presidential election. Holograms of each of these stars plus others (Marilyn Monroe, Liberace, etc.) are being developed by two companies — Hologram USA and Pulse Entertainment — currently in the midst of a nasty feud with each other over a heavily disputed technology.
Despite the legal war, entertainment fans can expect to see more and more holograms on the stage soon. Among the many projects in the works, the National Comedy Center is breaking ground on a hologram showcase in Lucille Ball’s hometown in August. The state of New York is so optimistic that Jamestown, N.Y., will become a tourist destination because of it that it recently awarded a $1.5 million grant to the comedy hologram project.
In the meantime, the best place to see holograms is 342 North Canon Drive in Beverly Hills. The invite-only showroom has been converted from a TV studio and has recently been attracting many of Hollywood’s biggest production studios to scope out the potential for other projects.
Visitors are treated to spectacles like Tupac Shakur reprising his show-stopping performance at the 2012 Coachella music festival, will.i.am imploding into a million pieces and a 4-foot animated creature bears a resemblance to Bob Marley. Some visitors even get a chance to become holograms themselves.
On a visit to Hologram USA’s showroom in early May, The Hollywood Reporter got a chance to witness holograms of Mariah Carey, Mick Jagger, Jimmy Kimmel, Frank Sinatra and Janet Jackson all on the same stage together. It’s just one of the possibilities that experts say could become a billion-dollar business.
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