- Universal Pictures is promoting action thriller "Skyscraper" with a virtual reality (VR) experience aimed at moviegoers in AMC Theatres, according to a press release. "Skyscraper: The Impossible Leap VR Experience" is available in 10 AMC locations across the U.S. through July 8, ahead of the July 13 premiere of the movie, which stars Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.
- The VR experience, created jointly by Universal, AMC Theatres, RealD 3D and HP Inc.'s Virtual Reality Solutions, lets viewers inhabit an action scene straight from the film. Users will be able to virtually experience running and leaping off a crane 110 stories off the ground in Hong Kong.
- During the VR experience, users can post a photo or video of themselves and their friends on social media using the hashtags #SkyscraperVR and #Sweepstakes for a chance to win a $100 AMC gift card.
Universal's VR experience for "Skyscraper" is part of a growing trend to promote films with content adapted for immersive technologies. While the movie's trailer teases a scene showing Dwayne Johnson's character jumping off a crane as he's chased by a helicopter and heavily armed police, VR gives moviegoers a chance to feel as if they're living the same experience, rather than passively viewing it.
Along with VR, film studios and their brand partners are also incorporating augmented reality (AR) experiences to deepen engagement with audiences and drum up excitement around a premiere. As part of Universal's multichannel campaign for the latest "Jurassic" movie, Walmart served as a supply drop in a "Jurassic World" AR game. Meanwhile, Warner Bros. similarly launched an AR game to promote "Rampage," another Dwayne Johnson vehicle. While AR is currently the immersive technology du jour because of it doesn't require users to own a pricey headset, VR could make inroads as the technology evolves and more practical use cases arise.
Oculus, the Facebook-owned developer of VR headsets, offered five VR experiences at this year's Sundance Festival in January. The demonstration was part of the New Frontier showcase at the film festival that demonstrates how the broader concept of "technology-enabled storytelling" is evolving. This year's exhibition included demonstrations of artificial intelligence (AI) in immersive experiences, and haptic technology that gives viewers the sensation of touching objects in a computer-generated world, enhancing the believability of total immersion into some experience.