×

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.

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • T.J. Dillashaw, right, kicks Cody Garbrandt

    Disney Plans UFC Broadcast for FX

    UFC matches will return to FX  – but not on a permanent basis. ESPN has been showing preliminary bouts to UFC pay-per-view events for the last while on ESPN and ESPN2, and then showing the main card on its ESPN+ subscription video service. In September, the early lineup will air on FX, which the UFC [...]

  • fundo logo

    Google‘s Area 120 Is Testing Fundo, a Crowdfunding Service for Creators (EXCLUSIVE)

    Google’s skunkworks lab Area 120 has been quietly testing an events-centric crowdfunding service for YouTubers, Variety has learned. Called Fundo, the service allows creators to invite their fans to virtual meet & greet sessions and other paid online events. A Google spokesperson confirmed the testing in a statement provided to Variety: “One of the many [...]

  • Telling Lies - Logan Marshall-Green

    Sam Barlow's 'Telling Lies' Government-Surveillance Thriller Game Sets Release Date

    After more than two years in the works, “Telling Lies” — the investigative thriller from acclaimed game creator Sam Barlow — is ready to take the stage. The game, produced with and released by Annapurna Interactive, will be available next Friday, Aug. 23, via Steam and Apple’s Mac and iOS app stores. “Telling Lies” will [...]

  • YouTube logo

    YouTube Will Stop Letting Copyright Holders Seize Revenue via Manual Claims on Very Short Music Clips

    YouTube is pushing back against overzealous copyright policing by music companies. Starting in mid-September, the video giant will forbid copyright holders from making manual claims to commandeer revenue generated by YouTube videos that include very short music clips (e.g., five seconds of a song) or “unintentional” music (like music from passing cars). “One concerning trend [...]

  • Chelsea Handler memoir book buy online

    Chelsea Handler Bonds With Alexa in iHeartRadio Smart Speaker Promo

    iHeartRadio has teamed up with Amazon to promote Chelsea Handler’s podcast “Life Will Be The Death Of Me.” Beginning this Thursday, users of Amazon’s Echo smart speaker and other devices with Alexa built-in can opt to get their mornings started with Handler cracking jokes and exchanging banter with the smart assistant. Users simply have to [...]

  • David Messinger, Activision Blizzard

    Activision Blizzard Hires CAA Veteran David Messinger as CMO

    Activision Blizzard tapped David Messinger, a former 15-plus-year veteran of CAA, as its first corporate-wide chief marketing officer. Messinger, based in Santa Monica, reports to Coddy Johnson, Activision Blizzard’s president and COO. It’s the first time the video-game company has appointed a CMO who will oversee the global marketing operations across all of Activision Blizzard [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content