UPDATE, Wed. 2:00 p.m .: The date has been set for Paramount’s first offering in its virtual reality movie theater. The immersive experience is launched at 6 p.m. EST On December 29, fans can enter the lobby of Bigscreen’s Virtual Theater and have the option to meet friends before entering theaters to watch a screening of Top Gun In 3D. The film will be shown at regular intervals over a period of 24 hours. The event is only available to people in the US and requires a VR headset and Windows 10 PC.
Supported VR headsets include the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, all SteamVR compatible headsets, and all Windows Mixed Reality headsets. Users can see Top Gun for free by downloading the free Bigscreen app from the Oculus Store, Steam Store or Microsoft Store.
Previously November 16, 2017 EXCLUSIVE: Paramount Pictures just created another platform – or maybe even a new distribution window – to display the content of its features.
The studio, in partnership with Bigscreen, is collaborating with several tech companies leading efforts in the virtual reality space – Oculus, Samsung, HTC and Microsoft, among others – to launch a first VR movie theater. A spectator puts on a VR headset and sits in a “cinema” in front of a giant screen to watch a movie as you would in a brick and mortar cinema.
During the month of December, consumers with any brand of VR headset can log on to bigscreenvr.com and find out Top Gun 3D in what looks like a movie theater. Yes, you walk into a movie theater, complete with linens and theater seats. There will even be trailers before the main movie. In addition, moviegoers will be seated in a virtual audience and will be able to chat before the start of the film with everyone next to them or with them.
Then, for the next 24 hours and in 30 minute increments, VR headset users will be able to watch Top Gun in 3D for free (Top Gun 3D is available now on Blu-ray). âThis is a good example of what happens when you collaborate with Silicon Valley,â noted Tom Hayes, SVP New Media at Paramount.
What Paramount is doing is, well, really brilliant in that the trial obviously has much bigger implications for the industry if it is successful.
Hayes first discovered Bigscreen a year ago, when it was an âenterprise productivity toolâ. However, after watching what they were doing, he thought to himself, âThis is a movie theater. So six months ago, they seriously started to develop a virtual movie theater. âThis launches a possible new platform for the film industry,â said Hayes. âObviously you can add all kinds of bonus content with questions and answers from filmmakers, games, trivia, for example, afterwards. There is no limit to what we can do.
Hayes told Deadline the studio wanted to âstart the conversation. Paramount wants to be where the consumers are and the media landscape is changing and we want to be as forward thinking as possible. We need to make theaters a bigger and better experience. Jim G [Paramount chairman and CEO Jim Gianopulos] is a progressive thinker, and we want to move forward and see where the public wants to go. There is a big cultural difference between high tech and Hollywood. Here we are testing something that turns the pages of media history.
For years, the industry has struggled with the closure of movie theater windows and the threat of exposure. Virtual reality is still in its infancy, but it shows other options to The Screening Room and other high-end video-on-demand systems by virtually bringing movies straight to home – this one via a big screen experience.
Additionally, Gianopulos has hinted for some time that PVOD is “inevitable” in “a period of months, not years” as consumers demand a change. Viewing habits have also clearly changed. He said in a September investor call that if PVOD conditions resulted in a sharp reduction in show sales, the studios would “obviously” provide them with an “improved revenue stream” including money from home viewing. .
Paramount has several films planned after this starting in 2018. One possibility is 3d terminator, even if nothing is set in stone. Obviously, the studio is using older films to help market upcoming reboots, but the writing is on the wall as to where this could all go.
So, is this a new window or a new platform? Looks like both.