World’s largest cinema chain AMC Theaters is making a big investment in a much smaller screen, as the company has agreed to invest $10 million in location-based virtual reality company Dreamscape Immersive and commit a separate $10 million in a VR content fund, the companies announced Tuesday.
AMC parent company AMC Entertainment, which is owned by China’s Dalian Wanda Group, is the lead investor in a $20 million Series B financing round in Dreamscape Immersive, which uses body-mapping technology to allow up to six people to interact as full-body virtual avatars in a computer-generated world.
Dreamscape Immersive is opening a flagship location at the Westfield Century City Mall in Los Angeles, and AMC has also agreed to finance up to six additional centers in its theaters or standalone locations in North America and the U.K. over the next 18 months. With the company’s stock struggling amid a summer box office slump, virtual reality could be another lever, like reclining seats and premium food and beverage, that AMC can use to get more people to the movies.
“Dreamscape Immersive ushers in an exciting new world in virtual reality and reminds us through its trailblazing all-enveloping technology that we really are living in the 21st century. A dazzling future is now at hand,” Adam Aron, CEO and President of AMC Entertainment, said in a statement. “What makes Dreamscape Immersive and AMC Theatres a perfect fit together is the vast and impressive experience of Dreamscape’s founders in cinematic storytelling that is sure to resonate with AMC’s moviegoers.”
“While Dreamscape’s immersive technologies represent the cutting edge of the digital world, its heart and soul rests firmly in the shared language of film – so it’s tremendously exciting that our first major commercial partnership is with the world’s largest cinema exhibitor,” Walter Parkes, Dreamscape Immersive co-chairman, said in the statement.
“We look forward to working with AMC to offer audiences the opportunity to actually step into and experience imaginative worlds previously only available through watching movies,” Dreamscape Immersive CEO Bruce Vaughn said in the statement.