IMAX Corporation and IMAX China Holding, Inc. have completed the first phase of a $50 million virtual reality fund.
The fund, created by IMAX and other strategic investors, will help finance the creation of at least 25 interactive VR content experiences over the next three years for use across all VR platforms, including in IMAX VR centers.
In addition to IMAX, the investors include: Acer, a leading hardware and manufacturing companies; Creative Artists Agency (CAA), a major entertainment and sports agency; and China Media Capital, a media- and entertainment-focused investment fund and a shareholder in IMAX China.
Other investors are Enlight Media, an entertainment-content-focused corporation in China; The Raine Group, a global merchant bank focused exclusively on technology, media, and telecommunications; Studio City, an investment company responsible for the founding of the China national showcase zone for TV and films; and WPP, the world’s largest advertising and marketing services group.
“IMAX has built its legacy on using innovation and creative collaboration to drive the further adoption of new technologies,” IMAX Corp. CEO Richard L. Gelfond said. “Today, we are expanding upon that legacy by teaming up with leaders across the media, entertainment and technology space to unlock a new level of premium, high-quality content for use throughout the VR ecosystem. We will be leveraging our collective relationships with world-class filmmakers and content creators to fund VR experiences that excite and attract a larger user base to capitalize on opportunities across all VR platforms including IMAX VR.”
IMAX is in the process of launching its first pilot IMAX VR centers in Los Angeles and at Odeon and UCI Cinemas Group’s Printworks multiplex location in Manchester, England. The company is also targeting additional test facilities in China, Japan, the U.S., the Middle East and Western Europe in the coming months.
IMAX plans to use these pilot locations to gauge several factors including the overall customer experience, pricing models and the types of content featured. If successful, the intent is to roll out the concept globally to select multiplexes as well as commercial locations such as shopping centers and tourist destinations.