Hollywood Creatives Starting to Explore New VR Experiences

The studios are getting serious about VR productions, infusing them with more talent, money and time, and focusing on higher production values, original stories and a bit of celebrity. At the Tribeca Film Festival, virtual reality productions from director Kathryn Bigelow, musicians John Legend and Pharrell Williams, and producer Megan Ellison among others will be showcased. IMAX is also investing in venues for experiencing VR, with a center opening in Los Angeles, and plans to open more in the U.S., U.K., and China. Continue reading Hollywood Creatives Starting to Explore New VR Experiences

Ridley Scott Teams with Machinima to Produce Sci-Fi Shorts

Acclaimed film director Ridley Scott has partnered with video entertainment network Machinima to produce 12 short science fiction films. Scott will serve as executive producer, while directors will be tapped from his commercial production company RSA. Martin Scorsese, Sam Mendes, Kathryn Bigelow and Neill Blomkamp are on the list of possible directors. Gaming and streaming site Machinima reaches 262 million unique viewers. Continue reading Ridley Scott Teams with Machinima to Produce Sci-Fi Shorts

Directors, Producers Join NATO in Concern Over Premium VOD

We recently reported that a new premium VOD service from DirecTV was in the works that would make movies available in the home shortly after their theatrical release.  The Hollywood Reporter now says 23 industry leaders — including Peter Jackson, James Cameron, Michael Bay, Michael Mann and Kathryn Bigelow — have thrown their support behind the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) by signing an open letter in opposition of the new distribution model.

NATO is running the letter this week in Variety at the same time the new VOD service — dubbed Home Premiere — is launched (the first available title will be Sony’s “Just Go With It”). According to DirecTV, new movie releases will be available in 1080p HD for $29.99, months before they are available on Netflix, DVD or Blu-ray. THR reports that theater owners are threatened by this proposal and what they see as a disruption to a proven distribution model. The directors and producers who signed NATO’s letter do not believe a premium VOD service will solve slumping DVD sales, and could negatively impact the platform release patterns of specialty films and lead to additional piracy issues.

“As a crucial part of a business that last year grossed close to $32 billion in worldwide theatrical ticket sales,” the letter states, “we in the creative community feel that now is the time for studios and cable companies to acknowledge that a release pattern for premium video-on-demand that invades the current theatrical window could irrevocably harm the financial model of our film industry.”

Related THR story: “7 Key Questions Surrounding DirecTV’s Premium VOD Service Controversy” (4/19/11)

Related Bloomberg story: “DirecTV Starts Premium Film Rentals at $29.99 for 48 Hours” (4/19/11)