Virtual Reality: A Temp Solution for Theatre Woes? [OPINION]

It seems like there's no real normal when going back to the movie theatre experience. As many changes as the cinema chains try to make, the businesses won't likely recover in its former glory for quite some time due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Many chains incorporate gimmicks like D-Box, where the participant is on the recipient of force feedback technology to "feel" the film. The majority of multiplexes already implement IMAX and/or 3D options for optimal experiences. I propose a dramatic solution as far as "recreating" the theatrical experience: virtual reality.

Man using a virtual reality headset while watching a movie in a theatre. By wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock
Man using a virtual reality headset while watching a movie in a theatre. By wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock

How Virtual Reality Can Help Theatres Remotely

As per existing social distancing guidelines, theatres can no longer have uninterrupted seating within rows. So rather than the viewings go away as empty seating, why not offer them virtually to willing participants at home? Since each screening can no longer be at full capacity and chains are already offering monthly membership discount programs, then why not allow the viewer an opportunity to loan a VR headset so they can take up the spacing that's otherwise already blocked off? Studios are already receptive to the idea of offering it to the home viewer for the price equivalent for the physical media copy on Blu-Ray or Ultra 4K HD.

It's not really radical if someone is willing to pay the full price to enjoy a new film outside of the theatre experience, why not give the option of recreating the theater experience next to others where they too can pick their seating? In such a multibillion-dollar industry where studios already know they're losing out on billions in revenue, it sounds like something they might get onboard on at least as an experiment. It's an in-between solution for those who want to go back to the cinema without leaving the safety and comforts at home, not to mention having to pay full price for a new film. If it works out, then you have the future of cinema right there with physical and virtual audiences occupying the same spaces watching the same movie for a unique shared experience.

About Tom Chang

I'm a follower of pop culture from gaming, comics, sci-fi, fantasy, film, and TV for over 30 years. I grew up reading magazines like Starlog, Mad, and Fangora. As a professional writer for over 10 years, Star Wars was the first sci-fi franchise I fell in love with. I'm a nerd-of-all-trades.

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