Paramount to screen ‘Top Gun’ in VR movie theater

Dive Brief:

  • Paramount Home Media Distribution, part of Paramount Pictures Corp., is screening the ’80s classic film “Top Gun,” in 3-D via the virtual reality (VR) platform Bigscreen on Dec. 29, according to a press release. Screenings begin at 6 p.m. EST and continue at regular intervals over a 24-hour period.
  • The Bigscreen VR platform lets viewers feel like they’re physically sitting in a movie theater, watching a movie on a giant screen with immersive sound and lighting. The platform also uses voice chat and avatars that let viewers hang out in a virtual movie theater lobby and interact with friends. Bigscreen has plans to develop a content lineup in 2018 and hold regular screenings of movies, TV shows and other videos in its virtual theater.
  • The Top Gun screening is available to U.S. users only and requires a VR headset and Windows 10 computer. The screening is free using the Bigscreen app, which can be downloaded from the Oculus, Steam or Microsoft stores. 

Dive Insight:

Hollywood has been putting VR to use in a variety of ways recently to promote films and offer fans a unique, interactive experience. Bringing these immersive experiences to movie consumers will likely expand the reach of new films and help marketers get a better grasp on exactly what types of VR content they should invest in, as it often comes with a heavy price tag. At the same time, it can put a fresh spin on classic films like Top Gun in a move to resonate with younger, tech-savvy consumers.

PricewaterhouseCooper predicts the VR space to grow 64% annually through 2021, when it will become a $5 billion industry. VR is also estimated to generate about half as much as box offices, which are only projected to grow 1.2% to $11.2 billion during the same time.

Realizing the possibilities that VR can offer both moviegoers and marketers, AMC Entertainment has partnered with Dreamscape Immersive to open several VR centers across the U.S. and the U.K. over the next year and a half that will serve as standalone installations and repurposed movie theaters to better engage fans with interactive content related to select movies. The centers use motion-tracking and multiple wearable devices to give users a full-body avatar and multi-person interactive experiences.

Disney Pixar recently released a standalone VR app to promote its hugely popular animated film “Coco.” The app features a 20-minute interactive story, where users can play with up to three other people. Wearing VR headsets, they can model Dia de los Meurtos fashions and decorate virtual calaca skulls to get excited about the movie through additional content.

Lionsgate teamed up with Unity Technologies to create a VR ad promoting the release of “Jigsaw,” the latest in the “Saw” franchise, this fall. The VR experience included real props from the film, voice-overs from the film’s actors and shrines to the previous films in the franchise.

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