Bigscreen Cinema is a new service selling tickets for around $4 to $5 per admission to popular movies you can view in a theatrical setting with far away friends or family through virtual reality headsets.
The new service from startup Bigscreen, originally founded by Darshan Shankar in 2014, offers a refined version of the social app tailored around a VR-enabled full cinema experience. The company is partnering first with Paramount Pictures with more studios slated to come on-board early next year offering both 3D and 2D screenings of popular movies.
Check out the trailer here:
Bigscreen is publishing its launch schedule with four new movies planned to premiere every Friday and screen for only one week. You can purchase tickets now with screenings starting every 30 minutes. The launch lineup consists of Raiders of the Lost Ark, Ghost In The Shell, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, and Star Trek. On December 20 Star Trek: Into Darkness, Terminator Genisys, Intersteller, and I Love You, Man will premiere in Bigscreen Cinema.
More movies will be announced in January.
Bigscreen Cinema is available on Oculus Quest, Oculus Rift, Oculus Go as well as via Steam for HTC Vive, Valve Index, and all Windows Mixed Reality headsets. Facebook recently dropped support for the phone-powered Gear VR on its Oculus platform and so Bigscreen dropped support for that platform as well. Shankar told us he hopes to have PlayStation VR support in the next six months.
The founder and CEO told us they are planning a friends system for Bigscreen in January that should make it easier to coordinate meetups with friends, but for now he said people can put on the headset and enter the lobby for Bigscreen Cinema to find a friend or send the friend their Room ID. If your friend buys their own ticket they’ll be able to join up in the same room, according to Shankar.
Trailers for upcoming movies and other pre-roll content may play a few minutes before the movie’s start just like a traditional theater. You can, of course, customize your avatar and its accessories and there are toys to play with or throw around during the movie, like popcorn, soda and tomatoes.
“Bigscreen also has user protection features such as a personal space bubble, muting, banning, and undisclosed features to combat trolls from disrupting the movie experience,” according to the startup.
Prices per ticket should be about $4 to $5, but varies by country, with support initially for the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain, Sweden, Netherlands, Australia, and Japan. You can also get a private theater to watch by yourself or just with friends, or a public cinema to watch with other movie fans.
I asked Shankar whether the new cinema feature signaled any changes planned to Bigscreen’s existing desktop-sharing service which allows people to share content playing on their computer screen with friends using a VR headset.
“Nope! No changes at all,” he wrote in a message. “We don’t know what people do on their desktops — we respect their privacy — and we don’t care since we’re not an ad-driven business. Bigscreen Cinema, Bigscreen TV, and Bigscreen Desktop features are designed to coexist well together. Our goal for the future is to enable people to hangout together in a virtual living room in Bigscreen with many virtual applications: PC desktops, a livestream from a TV channel, music from a radio station, etc. all working together.”
Will we be seeing you in Bigscreen Cinema sometime soon? Let us know in the comments what you think and if you’re excited about any of the movies.