Fox’s New Virtual Reality Unit Plans ‘Planet of the Apes’ Experience, Spike Jonze Project

Studio’s new FoxNext division teams with VR firm Within for a series of projects

FoxNext Within VR virtual reality

Fox is strapping on goggles and diving into virtual reality, launching a new division focused on the technology Wednesday and announcing a content partnership with VR firm Within Thursday that will include a “Planet of the Apes” immersive experience and a VR film with Annapurna Pictures and Spike Jonze.

FoxNext, a brand new division that works across the film and television businesses of 21st Century Fox, and Within will work together on several VR experiences, the first being an immersive project based on “Planet of the Apes” directed and produced by Within founder and CEO Chris Milk.

The “Apes” VR experience will be available on Within’s app and across virtual and augmented reality platforms. Twenty-first Century Fox is an investor in Within. (Fox also teamed with Imaginati on another “Apes”-inspired VR experience that was previewed at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this month.)

FoxNext and Within are also joining with Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Pictures on an original VR feature with the working title “I Remember You.” Milk will produce and direct the movie, which was developed with director Spike Jonze. Ellison will co-produce alongside Milk and Jonze. The movie will be also be available through Within.

Earlier this month, Within launched its first original VR series, “The Possible,” which offers a 360-degree look into some of the latest scientific and technological breakthroughs.

“Virtual reality is the next generation of entertainment and ‘Planet of the Apes’ provides the perfect canvas to create a new kind of filmmaking experience that will further immerse fans into the franchise,” Salil Mehta, FoxNext’s president, said in a statement. “In partnership with visionary filmmakers like Chris, and companies like Within, Fox will continue to push the envelope to create immersive experiences that bring audiences into the action like never before.”

“VR provides a unique opportunity to expose and explore the boundaries of technology and personal expression,” Milk said in the statement. “We’re confident that the opportunities of bringing narrative, plot-driven VR experiences to the mainstream outweigh the challenges. These two projects couldn’t be any more different in how we’re building them, or the end result.  That’s what’s exciting about this new medium though, there is no one right answer.”