Spielberg-backed VR startup grabs $20M led by AMC to bring headsets into movie theaters

Lucas Matney
Though consumer VR is off to a slow start, many believe that location-based experiences could represent a more sustainable future for the industry, giving consumers higher-quality content in an experience that's a lot more like going to see a movie.

Though consumer VR is off to a slow start, many believe that location-based experiences could represent a more sustainable future for the industry, giving consumers higher-quality content in an experience that's a lot more like going to see a movie. In fact, trying out VR at the movie theater is exactly what many startups are trying to get done.

Today, a VR startup called Dreamscape Immersive has announced a $20 million Series B led by the world's biggest movie theater chain, AMC. The startup is already backed by some of Hollywood's heaviest hitters including Warner Bros., 21St Century Fox, MGM, IMAX Corporation, and Steven Spielberg.

In addition to the cash money, Dreamscape has signed a sizable partnership with AMC to start bringing the company's full-body motion capture VR tech, which allows up to six simultaneous users in a shared social experience, into movie theaters and standalone locations across the U.S. and U.K. The rollout is coming to as many as six locations over the next 18 months per the deal.

It's worth noting that these will be custom experiences that take advantage of technologies that just isn't feasible for users to have at home. AMC has also signed onto investing $10 million into a content fund for the startup to begin crafting some of the early experiences.

The movie theater industry isn't looking to do anybody any favors right now, for them location-based VR is an opportunity to get people back into theaters for experiences that go beyond getting them in front of a bigger screen than they have at home. Though box office hits have been getting bigger in scale, fewer and fewer Americans are heading to the theaters, opting for the convenience of on-demand movie rentals and streaming sites.

Location-based VR could offer a lot of value, though it obviously presents some logistical issues for theaters that may not exist currently. There are already a few startups gaining significant traction early on. Last month, Disney announced that it would be integrating VR experiences from a company called The Void into two of its Disney theme park resorts.