Sony Pictures will partner with Reality One to develop, produce, and finance a slate of virtual reality content, the partners said Tuesday. Many of the new virtual reality experiences will draw on the studio’s existing films and franchises, but others will be completely original works.
Sony Pictures will handle the distribution, with new projects expected to come to fruition later this year. Hollywood has long been intrigued by the possibilities of virtual reality, with the likes of Peter Jackson and Steven Spielberg dipping their toes into the technology. For the most part, these projects have been promotional in nature, or used to show the possibilities of immersive media content. They have not been huge profit centers.
Still there is a sense that this is where the audience will migrate, and to that end, Sony appears eager to be one of the more aggressive players in the space. That’s somewhat unsurprising given that its parent company is a technology manufacturer. Sony has already launched virtual reality experiences based on “Ghostbusters” and “The Walk,” and tapped Jake Zim last July for the newly-created role of senior vice president of virtual reality.
Sony did not disclose the depth of its investment in the new virtual reality slate, nor did it say how many projects it hopes to make. In a statement, Zim heralded the pact as “groundbreaking,” adding that it will “expand our efforts to develop new audiences and new revenue from our studio’s content, leverage longstanding relationships with some of the best creative minds in the business, and explore exciting opportunities for high-quality, interactive storytelling in this new medium.”
Reality One was co-founded by billionaire and philanthropist Gigi Pritzker and former Legendary Entertainment executive Clint Kisker in 2015. They recently co-produced and co-published Gnomes and Goblins, an original production created by “Iron Man” director Jon Favreau.
The deal was negotiated by Clint Kisker, along with Latham & Watkins LLP for Reality One, and by Zim, Jay Galston, and Manatt, Phelps & Phillips for Sony Pictures.