Fresh off of a rocky box office debut, Justice League’s tie-ins are popping up across the country. Specifically, an exclusive VR experience has launched at IMAX VR centers in Los Angeles, New York, and Toronto, according to a report by Variety.
The experience - not quite a game and not quite a story - is simply titled “Justice League: An Imax VR Exclusive” and allows those excited for the lowest box-office opener in DCEU franchise history to embody different superheroes for crime-stopping missions. Whether they “outrace their enemies as Batman, fight Parademons as Wonder Woman,” or defuse a bomb as The Flash, fans of the Marvel competitor will find the heroes they love in this experience or the next, as Warner Bros and IMAX plan to continue their partnership with an Aquaman tie-in and one more, as-of-yet unannounced experience.
The Verge reports that these games, while mostly guided “on rails,” use the HTC Vive’s motion controllers to create exciting experiences that have a simplicity not found in films many critics have trouble slogging through.
While IMAX is co-funding these tie-ins - part of 25 they will help create over the next three years - they also maintain an exclusive window to host them (for Justice League’s, it’s two weeks). These experiences and these centers are ways for IMAX to gauge audience interest separately from ticket sales and the fluctuating factors of the opening weekend box office. However, when investing ahead of time with any film (even a well-established franchise entry), risks are undertaken.
Justice League’s surprising debut may serve as a warning for IMAX’s deals with franchise mainstays like Justin Lin and the Russo brothers, but the success of these experiences independent of the films they are attached to remains to be seen. These filmmakers will have access to a Google-developed “cinema-grade VR camera” expected to launch in 2018, so it is safe to say the experiment will be moving forward no matter the performance of “Justice League: An Imax VR Exclusive.”