Sony Pictures’ virtual reality (VR) group and Madison Wells Media’s Reality One are teaming up to develop virtual reality experiences based on the Culver City studio’s upcoming pics and franchises. Reality One will partner with Sony to produce and finance the slate, while the studio oversees the worldwide distribution of the content, set to debut later this year.
“Sony is a company born of technological innovation and SPE born of storytelling. VR is the next frontier in the intersection of those two forces and today we join Madison Wells’ Reality One, who has already done some of the coolest stuff out there, to push those boundaries. Fun!” said Sony Pictures Motion Picture Group chairman Tom Rothman in a statement.
“Clint Kisker and I founded Reality One to create immersive content from the world’s best storytellers and we believe this landmark partnership will allow both Sony Pictures and Reality One to take maximum advantage of Sony’s wealth of intellectual property, relationships with established storytellers and willingness to experiment with new technologies,” said Gigi Pritzker, co-founder of Reality One.
Jake Zim, Senior VP, Virtual Reality at Sony Pictures added, “Through this groundbreaking pact with Reality One, Sony Pictures 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.”
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Reality One was co-founded by Gigi Pritzker and Clint Kisker last year. They recently co-produced and co-published Jon Favreau’s enchanted VR world Gnomes and Goblins in conjunction with Venice, CA-based studio Wevr. Gnomes and Goblins became available as a free preview download on September 8 on the HTC Vive VR system. An Oculus version of Gnomes and Goblins will debut later this year. The VR experience puts the viewer at the center of a magical, mystical forest, abuzz with fireflies and glowing candles. There isn’t any narrative or gaming component connected with Gnomes and Goblins.
Studios and TV networks are beginning to dabble in VR, so as to see what the format can yield for their properties. Last summer at TCA, CNBC was showing off their new show Jay Leno’s Garage on Oculus VR headsets. At Comic-Con this summer, USA spotlighted their Mr. Robot Virtual Reality Experience. Attendees stopping by the Mr. Robot computer-store in San Diego during the confab were given the opportunity to wear Samsung VR gear and watch the 360-degree short film written and directed by Sam Esmail about hacker Elliot Alderson getting high.
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.
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