Sundance Sees First Seven-Figure VR Deal as CityLights Buys Darren Aronofsky’s ‘Spheres’

One of the VR experiences show as part of Sundance’s New Frontiers selection just got snapped up for some serious money: “Spheres,” the space-themed narrative three-piece series executive produced by Darren Aronofsky’s Protozoa Pictures, got acquired by CityLights as part of a seven-figure deal.

CityLights didn’t release the exact acquisition amount, but sources tell Variety that the deal was in the low- to mid-seven figures. It’s the first known seven-figure VR deal to come out of a film festival.

“Spheres,” which was directed by Eliza McNitt and produced by Jessica Engel, Arnaud Colinart, and Dylan Golden. “Songs of Spacetime,” as the first episode of the series is titled, is being narrated by Jessica Chastain.

It allows viewers to travel into the center of a black hole, and experience this journey not only as a visual, but also an acoustic sensation, thanks to music from Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein of Survive, the electronica band that recently rose in prominence thanks to their inclusion in the “Stranger Things” soundtrack.

“Spheres explores the songs of the cosmos,” said McNitt. “Most people think space is silent – it’s not. We’re excited for CityLights to help bring this experience to the world as we pioneer a new path to create and distribute immersive stories.”

“We’re incredibly excited to work with Eliza and the entire team on Spheres,” added CityLights co-founder Joel Newton. “The ambition and generative nature of the vision for Spheres perfectly fits with our mission to bring content to broader audiences and showcase the types of experiences only VR can deliver.”

Spheres is scheduled to debut on the Oculus Rift in the coming months, with plans to bring it to other VR platforms further down the line.

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