IMAX unveils comprehensive virtual reality strategy; launches location-based initiative through partnership with Starbreeze

IMAX to Create Fully Integrated Premium Out-of-Home VR Offering
Encompassing Camera Capture, Content Distribution and Delivery 

NEW YORK – May 20, 2016 – IMAX Corporation (NYSE:IMAX) today announced its strategy to develop a premium location-based virtual reality offering that will deliver immersive, multi-dimensional experiences, including entertainment content and games, to multiplexes, malls and other commercial destinations. Following yesterday’s IMAX Google VR camera announcement, IMAX has expanded its initiative to include a joint venture agreement with Starbreeze AB, a Swedish-based independent creator, publisher and distributor of high-quality VR entertainment content and hardware.

Pressrelease for download:  IMAX Starbreeze VR Partnership 5-20-16

Under the agreement, IMAX will create a premium VR experience that will leverage Starbreeze’s unique StarVR® headset technology, which provides a 210-degree full peripheral field of view – double that of any other VR headset currently available – to offer a truly immersive VR experience that is worthy of the IMAX® brand. As part of the partnership, Starbreeze’s existing library of VR entertainment content and games will be made available to consumers as well as the premium content resulting from the IMAX Google VR camera. IMAX will also look to establish new VR content partnerships through its existing Hollywood filmmaker and studio relationships. Meanwhile, Starbreeze will bring new interactive content through its publishing and partnerships in the gaming industry, which includes its relationship with leading Hollywood studio Lionsgate, with whom Starbreeze is developing its John Wick VR game as well as others.

IMAX sees a unique opportunity to combine premium equipment, more robust computing power, and expansive spaces to create a highly differentiated, destination-based VR experience that will draw audiences out of their homes, similar to the strategy IMAX has successfully employed in the cinema space.

“As technology and entertainment options evolve, we continue to innovate and find new platforms to extend The IMAX Experience,” said IMAX Corp. CEO Richard L. Gelfond. “We believe VR is an area that holds tremendous promise and is a natural progression for IMAX given our established worldwide brand presence, our immersive entertainment technology know-how, and strong industry relationships with filmmakers, studios and exhibitors. Just as IMAX provides the best cinematic experience, Starbreeze is a pioneer in the burgeoning VR market and its headsets will deliver a wider, “IMAX-like” field of view to allow consumers to see, feel, move and play in new worlds in a powerfully immersive and realistic way. While our partnership with Google puts IMAX in the VR capture business, Starbreeze brings the capabilities in content distribution and delivery that, when combined, help us to establish a complete offering across the VR ecosystem.”

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Starbreeze and Acer to Form Joint Venture for the StarVR Headset

CANNES (May 15, 2016) Starbreeze AB and Acer Inc. today signed a letter of intent to form a joint venture for the StarVR Virtual Reality (VR) Head-Mounted Display (HMD). The two companies aim to cooperate on the design, manufacturing, promotion, marketing and sales of the StarVR HMD to the professional- and location-based entertainment market.

“Since our launch in June 2015, we have had an amazing start with StarVR. By partnering with Acer we shift gears yet again to firmly position us as the leader in top-end VR experiences. Acer is an excellent, experienced and prominent hardware partner that will accelerate us in realizing and producing a high-definition, high-fidelity VR headset,” said Bo Andersson Klint, Starbreeze CEO. “We’ve been working with a clear roadmap for our VR strategy from day one, and are now about to realize one of the first major collaborations we set out to achieve. The future for StarVR is now set and extremely exciting.”

“Acer is thrilled to join forces with Starbreeze in bringing the StarVR head-mounted display to the market,” said Jason Chen, Acer Corporate President and CEO. “We are devoting R&D resources across multiple aspects of the VR ecosystem for a coherent and high-quality experience, while just last month Acer announced powerful desktops and notebooks fully-ready for StarVR. Starbreeze and Acer share the same goal of delivering best-in-class VR applications, and we look forward to unlocking new VR possibilities together with this partnership. ”

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Premiering The Cinematic VR-experiene “Cockatoo Spritz” at Cannes may 11-20

Starbreeze, partnering with Acer, Audeze and Glenfiddich, is currently showcasing its first internally produced cinematic Virtual Reality (VR) experience titled “Cockatoo Spritz” directed by Stephane Barbato.

Starting on Wednesday May 11th Starbreeze will showcase the new VR-experience Cockatoo Spritz and Overkill’s The Walking Dead VR-Experience at the Majestic Hotel at the heart of Cannes. On Sunday May 15th an event will be arranged to further exclusively preview the experience for select invitees.

“We felt the need to creatively push the movie industry into the VR space to fully realize the potential in the new medium, and at the same time showcase the strength of StarVR’s 210 field of view. We early decided to shoot in France. There is an amazing strong technical and creative environment here, so it really made sense to base the production here.” said Michael Hjorth, Starbreeze Chairman who executive produced the experience together with Emmanuel Marquez, Starbreeze CTO. “In discussions with Stephane Barbato, the director we decided to get inspiration from the early French pioneers, like the Lumiere brothers, and the movies of Lubistch and Billy Wilder.

“Cockatoo Spritz tells the story of the effervescence. ‘Spritz’ is the spirit of the show, the funny in the air, the sparkling in the eyes. Looks around you ‘Spritz’ is everywhere…” said Stephane Barbato about the experience. 

Starbreeze first VR-project was produced to explore the interactive game space in the Overkill’s the Walking Dead VR-experience which premiered at E3 2015 where the company also launched its 210-degree field of view StarVR head mounted display. Now, the “Cockatoo Spritz” dives into the film world and presents the new medium from a cinematic perspective.

For more information on how to book an appointment at the Majestic, please email: starbreeze@ddapr.com