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October 12, 2016

IMAX to open first European VR centre in Manchester

Movie-goers are soon to get a virtual reality experience in Manchester.

By Hannah Williams

IMAX has announced an agreement with leading European exhibitor, ODEON & UCI Cinemas Group, to install the first pilot IMAX VR centre at its Printworks multiplex location in Manchester, England.

The centre, which is expected to open by the end of 2016, will deliver guests immersive, multi-dimensional VR experiences, including entertainment content and games.

The IMAX VR experience features a unique combination of premium technology that lets users see, feel, move and play in new worlds in a powerfully immersive and realistic way, similar to IMAX cinemas, which offers moviegoers a differentiated and best-in-class film experience.

imaxThe organisation is working with Acer and Starbreeze AB to incorporate next-generation headset-mounted display (HMD) technology that offers industry-leading resolution and an extra-wide peripheral field of view.

Richard L.Gelfond, CEO of IMAX said: “For nearly 50 years, IMAX’s mission has been to give audiences- of all ages and across generations- a reason to get off their couches and leave the comfort of home to go out to the cinema. The agreement with ODEON marks an important milestone in our continued effort to deliver differentiated entertainment experiences- now through location- based VR.”

IMAX will provide the centre an ongoing array of new, premium interactive content experiences that are expected to range between 5 and 15 minutes in length each. The company is in advanced stages with several content developers, including Hollywood studios and gaming publishers, to produce and distribute high-quality VR experiences to its centres.

It also plans to eventually incorporate premium content resulting from the cinema-grade virtual reality camera that is currently developing in partnership with Google.

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VRThe centre will employ a new modular design- proprietary to IMAX- that will consist of several “pods” to allow multiple players to enjoy interactive, exciting, moveable VR experiences.

Paul Donovan, CEO of ODEON & UCI Cinemas Group said: “We have a longstanding close relationship with IMAX which creates unforgettable experiences in many of our cinemas across Europe, so we are delighted to be alongside them again, at the cutting edge of innovation, to introduce and pilot awesome new technology which will delight our guests.”

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