Cineplex Takes Stake in VRstudios, Installs 40 VR Arcades

Scotiabank Theatre Toronto - Cineplex Entertainment - Publicity -H 2016
Courtesy of Cineplex Entertainment

The Canadian cinema chain is making a strategic investment in the U.S.-based virtual reality arcade producer.

Canadian cinema giant Cineplex on Thursday said it has struck a strategic partnership with Seattle-based VRstudios that includes a "significant" equity investment in the maker of commercial virtual reality arcades.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the agreement calls for Cineplex to install up to 40 VRstudios arcades in its multiplexes and location-based entertainment centers across Canada by 2021.

The two strategic partners also point to "broader expansion opportunities" in North America and elsewhere outside Canada. VRstudios sells its commercial VR experiences to theme parks, arcades, amusement parks, family entertainment centers, casinos and theatrical multiplexes.

Cineplex earlier installed a VRstudios attraction at an out-of-home entertainment venue in Edmonton, Alberta, before expanding its agreement with the U.S. partner.

"We are not just deploying VR across our network, we are strategically investing in the market to create new revenue streams as well as critical mass and scale for growth," Cineplex president and CEO Ellis Jacob said in a statement.

Cineplex also offers high-end VR attractions like The Void in its multiplexes as it looks to diversify away from traditional Hollywood exhibition to attract more Canadians to its out-of-home entertainment offerings.