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Jul 10, 2018

Cineplex teams with VR firm in latest bid to break reliance on film

Christine Poole discusses Cineplex

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Cineplex is continuing to diversify its business beyond standard movie theatres, announcing a new expansion agreement with The Void, a company that offers virtual reality experiences.

The Void uses Hollywood intellectual properties, like "Star Wars," and combines them with VR technology to make multi-sensory attractions.

One such offer is already in operation in downtown Toronto at Cineplex’s Rec Room, where visitors can become “Ghostbusters” for the day.

The new agreement will give Cineplex exclusive rights to develop new experiences, with five new venues already planned at existing Cineplex properties.

"Entertaining people is what we do best and this truly immersive, engaging and interactive experience is a great addition to our growing list of entertainment offerings,” said Ellis Jacob, president and CEO of Cineplex, in a release.

"We're committed to transporting everyone, everywhere on virtual adventures. To deliver on that promise, The Void will continue to open our unique entertainment centers in key markets and major destination cities," Cliff Plumer, CEO of the Void, said in a release.

Cineplex owns 164 theatres across the country, and has recently been looking into new revenue opportunities to offset slumping ticket sales.

Cineplex shares have lost nearly 41 per cent of their value in the last 12 months, making it the seventh-worst performer on the TSX Composite Index during that time.



Last year, Cineplex opened The Rec Room in Toronto, a self-described "eats and entertainment hotspot" and has plans for 10-15 new locations in the coming years.

In June, Cineplex launched a partnership with Uber Eats to deliver concession items, like movie theatre popcorn, to Canadian consumers.

The financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.