Paramount Inks Multi-Year Pact With Bigscreen For Virtual Reality Distribution

Paramount Pictures and San Francisco-based virtual reality startup Bigscreen have set a multi-year agreement that will see select titles from the studio distributed to social VR viewers.

The pact includes the U.S., UK, Canada, Germany, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Sweden, Australia, and Japan.

On Bigscreen’s platform, users customize personal avatars, hang out in a virtual lobby and voice chat with other movie fans. Films are streamed on screens inside virtual cinemas, providing a social movie watching experience. In addition to 2D screenings, Bigscreen will also show some films in 3D, using rendering technology that it says creates a level of depth and detail not possible with traditional 3D glasses.

“Bigscreen’s virtual reality platform offers a new way for fans to experience films in their homes,” said Bob Buchi, President of Worldwide Home Entertainment at Paramount. “We’re excited to be a part of this experiment using cutting-edge technology to give fans a new entertainment option.”

Starting Monday, four new movies per week will premiere in Bigscreen for one-week runs. Titles are delivered to Bigscreen audiences live on a pay-per-view basis, with scheduled showtimes every 30 minutes. December’s lineup includes  Star Trek, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Interstellar.

“We are excited to enable fans around the world to hangout, chat, and watch films together in our virtual movie theater,” Bigscreen founder and CEO Darshan Shankar said.

Bigscreen can be downloaded for free. It runs on the Oculus Quest, Oculus Rift, Oculus Go, HTC Vive, Valve Index, all SteamVR headsets, and all Microsoft Windows Mixed Reality headsets.

Founded in 2014, Bigscreen is backed by $14 million in venture funding from lead investors Andreessen Horowitz and True Ventures. It claims to have more than 1 million users of its VR platform, which launched in 2016. The Bigscreen app is often ranked in the top 10 in the app store for Oculus and SteamVR.

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