AMC Theaters, the largest cinema chain worldwide, and largest in the United States, has announced a strategic investment in Dreamscape Immersive, a firm developing multi-user out-of-home VR attractions. AMC is leading a $20 million investment in the company—aimed at rolling out a number of VR attractions both inside and outside of AMC theaters—and is committing $10 million to a fund to generate bespoke VR content for the facilities.

Dreamscape Immersive is creating VR attraction facilities which leverage full body tracking technology provided by Switzerland-based Artanim. A VR headset attached to a backpack computer offers untethered movement around a large physical space for up to six players simultaneously. The tracking system supports shared interactions like handshaking, and prop handling. A video from Artanim gives an idea of how the technology works together to create interactive multi-user VR experiences with physical locomotion:

AMC, the world’s largest cinema chain, is leading a $20 million Series B investment in Dreamscape Immersive. AMC says the money will “rapidly scale the development and expansion of Dreamscape Immersive.” Specifically the companies plan to open six Dreamscape VR centers in the next 18 months, some of which will be located inside of AMC theaters. Additionally, Dreamscape also plans to open a flagship location at Westfield Century City Mall in Los Angeles in Q1 of 2018.

AMC says it’s funding 50% of the of the $20 million Series B. AMC is additionally investing $10 million into a content fund to begin creating bespoke immersive experiences for the Dreamscape VR attraction centers. Dreamscape says it’s in talks with major studios and IP-holders; naturally the companies hope to make recognizable film franchises part of the immersive content offering, something AMC seems likely to be able to help with.

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“In many cases, we have surplus space, and we think Dreamscape will add energy and excitement to our theaters, especially during the week,” Adam Aron, CEO of AMC, told the New York Times. “But this isn’t a replacement for movies. It’s a complement.”

Dreamscape’s momentum is impressive, as is its roster of investors and advisors. The company completed its Series A funding just nine months ago, with backers including Bold Capital Partners, Warner Bros., 21st Century Fox, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), IMAX Corporation, Westfield Corporation, and Steven Spielberg. The New York Times reports that company’s Series B brings Dreamscape’s financing to some $40 million.

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Dreamscape Immersive isn’t without competition. Notable rivals in the world of multi-user out-of-home VR attractions include The VOID, which recently signed with Disney to produce a multi-user VR Star Wars experience. Then there’s Zero Latency, which already has installations in Australia, Japan, and its latest location inside the MGM Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

Image courtesy Zero Latency

IMAX is similarly getting in on the VR attraction game, though their first stab, the IMAX VR Experience Centre in Los Angeles, is positioned more as a VR arcade, offering experiences closer to the sort that users can get in their homes with consumer VR equipment. IMAX was an investor in Dreamscape’s Series A (and may have followed on the Series B), so it’s possible that we’ll see some cross-pollination between the differing approaches.

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • Xron

    Seems intersting.

  • AnnoyedAnonymous

    Interesting that they are still using the back packs containing the laptop, but fair play to them; they have finally made it.

  • victor

    OK now I’ve seen it all
    Holodeck – – come to papa!

  • Michael Davidson

    How about we figure out how to bring the movie theater to people at home? Maybe I don’t want to go to the crowded theater, but would like to have an analogous movie experience? I’d pay $20 to sit at home, at a specific time even, to watch a new release in VR.