IMAX VR experience hopes to grab younger audience

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Imax has opened its first virtual reality experience centre in the UK, where it hopes to draw younger audiences to the cinema in greater numbers.

Opening at the Odeon cinema at the intu Trafford Centre in Manchester, the experience is based around a series of two-person pods and both put on VR headsets to experience movie-related and gaming content.

The centre is Imax’s fifth to open, but its first in Europe.

The experience will see visitors enter the space and play multiplayer games or experience entertainment content that ties in with movies currently showing at the cinema. The entertainment company said it hopes the presence of VR can draw more younger people to venues.

Imax Europe and Africa managing director Giovanni Dolci said: “We are excited to join forces with our long-time partner Odeon to unveil the next evolution of immersive entertainment in Europe - starting with the launch of the Imax VR Centre in Manchester.

“Imax VR brings the best VR technology and content together in a highly social and interactive setting that will let you and your friends become a part of the experience like never before.”

The centre features 10 of the VR pods.

Several premium, home virtual reality systems already exist, but most - including the HTC Vive used by Imax - require a high-power gaming PC in order to be used at home.

Among the experiences on offer - which last between eight and 15 minutes - will be the Star Trek: Bridge Crew at Perseph game, where players take on the role of a Star Fleet captain, and a new Justice League experience based on the new movie.

Odeon group managing director Mark Way said: “Our Odeon at the intu Trafford Centre is already one of the most innovative and popular cinemas in Europe, and now the launch of the Imax VR Experience will make it one of the most unique cinemas in the world.

“Our guests will be awestruck by the power of the Imax technology and the quality of the content from the world’s most creative studios and developers.

“We have a great history of working closely with our partners at Imax to bring guests the very best entertainment, and this is another massive step forward.

“We’re delighted that our guests in Manchester will the first in Europe to enjoy it, and look forward to welcoming everyone to an unforgettable experience.”

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