If ever there was a classic trendsetter in Hollywood, his name would be Steven Spielberg. And now, the three-time Oscar winner looks to be placing his bets on virtual reality for the silver screen. The beneficiary of his latest interest is none other than LA-based startup Virtual Reality Company (VRC). And while you may not have heard of this relatively new production company (despite the fact that it was behind Fox’s The Martian VR Experience), the company’s name may soon become as ubiquitous in the entertainment industry as Universal or DreamWorks.
Late last week, VRC raised almost $23 million in its latest investment round from Beijing-based Hengxin Mobile Business Co., which means that it has also ensured a content distributor in China. And apparently, this money will be put to use by none other than Mr. Spielberg, who is said to be working on an “original family-oriented VR program.” Spielberg, who is a shareholder in VRC, seems to have changed his opinion on virtual reality quite drastically since telling audiences at Cannes that VR could be “dangerous.”
In May, the acclaimed director said, “I think we’re moving into a dangerous medium with virtual reality. The only reason I say it is dangerous is because it gives the viewer a lot of latitude not to take direction from the storytellers but make their own choices of where to look.” He later added, “I just hope it doesn’t forget the story when it starts enveloping us in a world that we can see all around us and make our own choices to look at.”
But perhaps now, Spielberg believes he can still influence viewers’ choices, even when they’re in a VR world.
Robert Stromberg, VRC’s chief creative officer and a two-time Academy Award winner in his own right, says that VR certainly has a future in Hollywood and beyond. “Leaders across a number of industries, who months ago dismissed VR as a passing fad, are racing to participate in this rapidly evolving landscape,” he said.