SAN JOSE, Calif. (KTVU) - A movie theatre in the South Bay is now home to the Bay Area’s first virtual reality theatre. It’s the latest innovation to lure people back to the big screen.
Inside the Bay Area’s first virtual reality theatre at San Jose’s Oakridge Mall, the movie-going experience is at a whole new level. Admission isn't a ticket but a boarding pass complete with your own avatar.
“We make you the star,” said Space CEO Shiraz Akmal. “You can go see a movie. With the Spaces experience you become the movie. It's all about you, your friends or family.”
Spaces, the company behind the virtual reality attraction, is partnering with Cinemark Theatres. This location is the first in the Bay Area and third in the world after Irvine and Tokyo. Akmal said Silicon Valley is only fitting.
“People can finally touch and feel what the Valley is known for, this innovative self,” said Akmal.
Moviegoers put on a virtual headset and are transported to another world using state-of-the-art technology.
“You kind of really get lost and escape in a great story and in this case it's the Terminator and Terminator universe,” said James Meredith of Cinemark.
The mixed reality, interactive adventure is the latest strategy as theatres compete with Netflix and home video games.
“Sales fluctuate,” said Meredith. “We had the best year the industry has ever had last year and again it's because of innovation.”
Teams of four people are outfitted from head to toe in VR gear and a blaster and unlike other virtual reality games aren't tethered but move freely on a shaking platform.
Fans, misters and heat lamps help bring the animation to life.
“It’s better than Disneyland and it's better than Legoland,” said Sanchez.
“I was blown away with the graphics you being immersed in that environment,” said Sack.
The 30-minute VR experience is part of the future of entertainment. Many said, they'll be back.
“Yes definitely,” said Sack. “I’ll recommend it and I’ll come back with a group.”
Afterward, you get a link to a 90-second video showing the highlights of your experience. Tickets range from $20-30 and it opens to the public Friday.