Imax to Open VR Locations in Multiplexes, Malls

VR Theater GETTY H 2016
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The launch plans come after the screen technology company announced that it was working with Google on a new VR camera rig.

Fresh from announcing that it was working with Google on a new VR camera rig, Imax revealed plans that it will launch VR experiences in multiplexes and malls later this year according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

Imax is planning on launching six VR locations globally this year with the first such location set to be Los Angeles with further sites expected to be in China where the company has a big presence. 

The company said it will work with tech developer Starbreeze on the VR locations plan, using the Swedish company's headsets and games, with later content to come from filmmakers using the camera Imax is building with Google.

Imax CEO Richard Gelfond told the WSJ that VR for the home is likely get crowded quickly and  "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."

Gelfond said that the VR experiences, lasting around 10 minutes, would cost betweent $7 and $10. He added that he was keen to develop VR content tied to film franchises. Imax expects to follow its screen tech business model, licensing the VR equipment to theater operators and malls and then take a percentage of the revenue.

Theater operators are already keen to trial the VR experience, with Carmike CEO David Passman telling the WSJ that the space currently used for arcade games could be ideal areas for VR machines. "It is still on the drawing boards, but I would love to be one of the first theaters to pilot this,” Passman said.