IMAX Looks to Take VR to Theaters

Theater technology company partners with Swedish VR firm to bring virtual reality out of the living room
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IMAX May 20 announced a bold virtual reality initiative that would bring VR experiences to theaters, malls and other public places, leveraging an agreement between IMAX and Google to create new 360-degree cameras.

The announcement sees IMAX also partnering with Swedish VR content and hardware creator Starbreeze, with IMAX using Starbreeze’s StarVR headset and library of VR entertainment content. IMAX said it would also look to land new VR content via its studio partnerships.

“We believe VR is an area that holds tremendous promise and is a natural progression for IMAX given our established worldwide brand presence, our immersive entertainment technology know-how, and strong industry relationships with filmmakers, studios and exhibitors,” said IMAX CEO Richard L. Gelfond, in a statement. “While our partnership with Google puts IMAX in the VR capture business, Starbreeze brings the capabilities in content distribution and delivery that, when combined, help us to establish a complete offering across the VR ecosystem."

The new venture will carry the IMAX brand, with the company providing sales, marketing, product design, and installation. Starbreeze will handle the software platform, hardware, technical and product support.

"We want everyone to have an accessible and exciting premium VR experience in cinema complexes and commercial locations all around the world,” said Starbreeze CEO Bo Andersson Klint. “This open content platform will entertain and excite millions of people globally. The StarVR HMD — manufactured by our partner, leading Taiwanese electronics company Acer — together with the IMAX brand and its global reach through its many venues, is a great combination for our audiences."