Movie theaters obviously have a rough road ahead, as in-home entertainment has become more appealing, causing attendance levels to drop seriously. Theater owners will need to adapt to our changing times if they still hope to get people to leave their homes.

Could the photo above be what the movie-going experience will be like in the coming years? The people in those seats (an audience at the 2017 SXSW festival) are wearing virtual reality (VR) headsets and watching an immersive movie, The Mummy VR experience from Universal Studios and IMAX, starring Tom Cruise. The red seats are the Voyager system from Positron, which move around with the movie action and provide haptic feedback at appropriate points. (A skydiving scene, for instance, might feature movement of the chair plus vibrations felt by the seated viewer, in addition to video and audio provided by the headset.)

While theater attendance may be down, and continuing to fall, it’s unlikely that movie houses will disappear anytime soon. Your local multiplex at some point in the near future might offer a premium room showing such immersive VR movies, and the social element of experiencing these new forms of films with friends or family could be a hit. Not to mention, it’s unlikely that many people will have such VR chairs in their homes. Well, it’s not hard to imagine that in time some people would purchase a VR chair for their living rooms, but that would be a solitary experience. There will be appeal in going as a group and talking about the VR movie experience over a drink afterward.

Further reading:

Positron Closes $1.4 Million Seed Funding to Develop Next Gen of Its VR Motion Chair
Road to VR
January 30, 2018

Voyager: The World’s First Full-Motion Chair for Premium Cinematic VR

Domestic movie theater attendance hit a 25-year low in 2017
The Verge
January 3, 2018

Top photo credit: Positron - Voyager