Warner Bros. and IMAX have a new co-financing and production agreement for premium virtual reality (VR) experiences based on Warner Bros. films including “Justice League” and “Aquaman.”
The deal kicks in first with "Justice League VR," due for release later this year, and follows with "Aquaman VR" as well as another VR experience that has yet to be announced. The experiences will get exclusive release windows in IMAX VR centers before they’re rolled out to VR platforms for in-home and mobile viewing.
"It's fitting that with IMAX and Warner Bros.' shared history of launching Hollywood movies in IMAX theatres, today we're entering into our first studio deal to bring original VR content to the multiplex," said IMAX CEO Richard Gelfond in a statement. "A key component of our vision for VR is to help usher in the first wave of high-end blockbuster-based content. ‘Justice League’ and ‘Aquaman’ feature some of the most beloved characters on the planet, providing iconic properties to launch this effort. This type of premium content will introduce audiences to virtual reality in standalone and multiplex-based IMAX VR centers as well as other platforms."
"We are excited to be partnering with IMAX to develop and deliver premium VR experiences, and believe that capitalizing on ‘Justice League’ and ‘Aquaman’ characters from our well-known DC properties will broaden the appeal of this fast growing technology," said Ron Sanders, president of Warner Bros. Worldwide Home Entertainment Distribution, in a statement. "Using content and characters from these upcoming films and incorporating creative direction from some of Hollywood's most innovative filmmakers will help us to bring a groundbreaking experience to audiences and consumers who are hungry for a cutting-edge virtual reality experience."
IMAX currently has one IMAX VR center open in Los Angeles and plans to open five more in New York City, California, the U.K. and Shanghai in the next few months. The first few locations are intended for testing out things like customer experience and pricing, after which IMAX intends to roll out the concept globally at movie theaters and locations including malls and tourist spots.
For Warner Bros., the IMAX VR announcement continues a busy CinemaCon, which is currently underway in Las Vegas, on the virtual reality front. On Monday, Warner Bros. announced a deal with HTC Vive to make the hardware and platform the exclusive partner for all VR content related to the upcoming Steven Spielberg film “Ready Player One.”