Darren Aronofsky's VR Film ‘Spheres’ to Screen at Rockefeller Center (Exclusive)

Sandra Larochelle
'Spheres' installation by the Phi Centre

The film, written and directed by Eliza McNitt, won the Golden Lion for best VR film in Venice.

The VR film Spheres, directed by Eliza McNitt and executive produced by Darren Aronofsky, will make history once again with the first-ever VR experience at New York's Rockefeller Center in a limited engagement from Jan. 18-March 3. Tishman Speyer is sponsoring the public run, with exhibition support from RYOT.

Spheres has broken major ground in what may pave the way for VR distribution going forward. It sold at Sundance as the first VR film to snatch a seven-figure deal after it was acquired by CityLights. The three-part film, which takes viewers on a journey through outer space to uncover the sounds of the cosmos, is narrated by Millie Bobby Brown, Jessica Chastain and Patti Smith.

The series launched at the Venice Film Festival with the debut of the first chapter, Chorus of the Cosmos, where it won the top prize for VR, the Golden Lion. The second chapter, Songs of Spacetime, premiered at Sundance earlier in the year, and the third chapter, Pale Blue Dot, bowed at Tribeca. Spheres also was the first-ever VR film shown in Telluride.

The installation at Rockefeller Center will be a multimedia installation allowing visitors to feel as if they’re walking into a black hole. Seven viewers will be allowed in at a time to experience the 45-minute film on an Oculus Rift headset.

“We’ve poured our hearts into this experience and it’s a dream to have Spheres at Rockefeller Center. Together, we’re making virtual reality accessible to the public,” McNitt said Thursday in a statement. “Now audiences can be transported from New York City to the heart of a black hole. I can’t wait for you to join us on this journey to the cosmos.”

“CityLights made the decision to purchase Spheres at Sundance because we knew it was something special that audiences would want to experience, as long as we gave them a chance. Our vision for its potential is now unfolding as we partner with New York’s famous Rockefeller Center,” said CityLights co-founder Joel Newton. “This is the beginning of something new in VR as we bring immersive content to the public.”

Tickets, which run $50, are now on sale for the limited engagement, which will take place seven days a week at 600 Fifth Ave.

Spheres is presented by presented by Oculus Studios and Protozoa Pictures. It was executive produced by Protozoa's Darren Aronofsky and Ari Handel and produced by Jess Engel, Arnaud Colinart and Dylan Golden in association with Kaleidoscope, AtlasV, Crimes of Curiosity and Novelab. The score was written by Grammy-nominated artists Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein (Stranger Things) with sound design by Craig Henighan. The installation is supported by HP Virtual Reality Technology and was designed by the Phi Centre.