×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Imax Closes New York VR Center, Forecasts No New VR Investments for 2019

Imax continues to scale down its virtual reality (VR) ambitions: The company closed its New York-based VR Center in recent days, bringing the total number of such closures up to 3. Separately, executives promised investors on the company’s Q3 earnings call that they wouldn’t spend any additional money on such projects in 2019.

The closure of the Imax VR Center at AMC Kips Bay was confirmed by a spokesperson Friday morning, who sent Variety the following statement:

“With the launch of the IMAX VR pilot program our intention was to test a variety of different concepts and locations to determine which approaches work well. After a trial period with VR centres in multiplexes, we have decided to conclude the AMC Kips Bay 15 IMAX VR pilot run.”

The now-closed VR center was housed in the lobby of the AMC Kips Bay multiplex in New York. It consisted of 12 VR pods, which offered access to a variety of VR games and experiences.

When it was opened in June of 2017, Imax CEO Richard Gelfond painted it as the first step of a much more ambitious roll-out. “We are excited to kick off our multiplex strategy by launching our first pilot location within a multiplex with AMC,” he said at the time, hinting at plans to launch additional theater outposts.

Imax had plans to launch a total of 10 VR centers in multiple countries by the end of that year. “If successful, the intent is to roll out the concept globally to select multiplexes as well as commercial locations such as shopping centers and tourist destinations,” the company said in a press release at the time.

However, this year, Imax has been striking a decidedly different tone. The company closed a separate New York location in June, and shut down its Shanghai VR center in early July.  “The consumer reaction was extremely positive, but the numbers just weren’t there,”  Gelfond said during an earnings call earlier this year.

After the Kips Bay closure, Imax is operating just 4 remaining VR centers, and executives made it clear to investors this week that they had no plans to ramp up that number with additional investments. “We’re not looking for new business projects,” said Imax CFO Patrick McClymont during Thursday’s earnings call. “We’re keenly focused on the core business. And that will be approach for next year as well.”

Company executives also attributed cost savings to the company’s “continued scale-back” of VR and other new business initiatives. This also includes the shuttering of another VR-related project: A cooperation with Google to build a high-end camera for cinematic VR capture was cancelled late last year, as Variety was first to report in August.

More Digital

  • T-mobile - Netflix - John Legere

    T-Mobile Passes Netflix Price Hike Through to Subscribers

    T-Mobile is getting ready to raise prices for subscribers who have taken advantage of its “Netflix On Us” promotion: The mobile carrier will begin charging existing customers who have participated in the promotion an additional $2 per month to account for Netflix’s recent price increase. Consumers will see their bill go up starting on 6/2. [...]

  • Oona King

    Snap Hires Google Exec Oona King as First VP of Diversity and Inclusion

    Snap continues to fill out the ranks of its revamped leadership team: The Snapchat parent tapped Oona King, most recently Google’s director of diversity strategy and a former member of British Parliament with the Labour Party, as its first VP of diversity and inclusion. King, who starts at Snap on June 11, is also the [...]

  • Chrissy Teigen

    Chrissy Teigen to Rule Over Small-Claims 'Chrissy's Court' in Show for Jeffrey Katzenberg's Quibi

    Chrissy Teigen is going full-on “Judge Judy” in a reality show ordered by Quibi, the mobile-video subscription start-up venture founded by Jeffrey Katzenberg. In each episode of “Chrissy’s Court,” the model-influencer will reign as the “judge” over one small-claims case. Like the reality TV shows it’s patterned after, the plaintiffs, defendants, and disputes are real [...]

  • IGTV-Landscape

    Instagram's IGTV Adds Support for Horizontal Videos — but Still No Monetization

    Instagram is still searching to find the right recipe for IGTV, the long-form video service it debuted nearly a year ago. In the hopes of encouraging usage of IGTV, Instagram is breaking the original design that allowed only vertical video– to now support horizontally oriented videos as well. It’s a change that bows to the [...]

  • Facebook Logo

    Facebook Took Down 2.2 Billion Fake Accounts in Q1

    Facebook saw a huge jump of bots trying to create fake accounts during the first quarter, with the company revealing Thursday that it took down 2.19 billion such accounts over the first three months of this year. “We’ve seen a steep increase in the creation of abusive, fake accounts on Facebook in the last six [...]

  • Netflix Unveils Lonely Island Musical Tribute

    Netflix Unveils Lonely Island Musical Tribute to Jose Canseco, Mark McGwire

    The Lonely Island comedy troupe has dropped a half-hour Netflix special featuring a musical tribute to baseball greats Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire. “The Lonely Island Presents: The Unauthorized Bash Brothers Experience” features Andy Samberg and Akiva Schaffer as the former Oakland Athletics teammates who became known as “the Bash Brothers” for their prowess at [...]

  • Rotten Tomatoes

    Rotten Tomatoes Revamps Movie Audience Scores to Focus on Verified Ticket Buyers

    Rotten Tomatoes is dramatically changing its Audience Score methodology for movies: The site’s standard user rating will now reflect only moviegoers who can prove they’ve bought a ticket to see it in a theater. It’s another troll-fighting move by Rotten Tomatoes, designed to curb coordinated “review bombs” aimed at pushing down the Audience Score for [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content