It all started a few years ago, when the movie producer Gigi Pritzker was at the Sundance Film Festival. There her attention was attracted by of the New Frontier exhibition. The main focus was on the new and transmedia art, or, to be more precise, on virtual reality. Gigi Pritzker itself says that the exhibition has made on her an incredible impression; that she was returning to it again and again. «I spent all day in that building and was blown away by the stuff I was seeing».


New Frontier exhibition


For her, as for a creative person, it was a very important time of life. After the event, she began to think, as if she could incorporate VR art into her work as a film and live theater producer. Behind her company is already a number of large and beautiful works of which you’ve probably heard: Suburban Girl, Drive, Ender’s Game, Rabbit Hole. It was her company, Relevant Theatricals, which produced the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical Million Dollar Quartet. A new source of inspiration, virtual reality, could give new impetus to the development of its business. But how to use it?

As if at the behest of fate, Gigi Pritzker met Clint Kisker, with whom she found the answer to the question. Clint himself had been running business development at Legendary Entertainment, the company behind such blockbusters as The Dark Knight and The Hangover. Even working at Legendary, he was linked with implementation VR in content and production. But, as it turned out, it was not enough. «There was not really a significant content budget for large-scale creation of content around known IP», – he says.


New Frontier exhibition


But when he met Gigi and talk to her, work started and business went. Madison Wells Media was born. There was a challenge to unite under one roof films, theater productions, and VR experiences. The purpose of this decision is «expanding on and growing the IP that’s born in any one of those units,» – Kisker says. The main thing is to avoid the typical ideas about creating a movie franchise, as is usual in Hollywood, where people only shoot sequels. Instead, it is possible to create a unique stand-alone products, with its own set of characteristics.

Madison Wells Media first of all founded business partnerships and investments with Atom Tickets, the Void and the location-based VR company. First one is an app which sells movie tickets and provides detailed data on moviegoers’ viewing and purchasing behavior. Second is the location-based VR company. Other partners have also become the independent movie studio STX Entertainment и Sony Pictures. The last works with the studio’s VR content division on non-promotional VR and AR experiences. They also have an agreement on which Madison Wells’s VR division, Reality One, is Sony’s exclusive partner on VR products, related to Sony movies. The two companies will produce and finance VR content based on original IP. All, that will be connected with the film, they decided to separate, to get original, stand-alone pieces.

The first project did not take long. Reality One’s first project so far, Gnomes & Goblins, is a room-scale VR experience created by Jon Favreau. The idea to create this draft was born by Jon while he was in postproduction on The Jungle Book (2016). His animation director, Andy Jones, brought over to the Venice-based VR company, Wevr, to check out theBlue (a top notch room scale VR experience). TheBlue made a great impression on Jon. He literally felt vulnerable being with the big whale underwater, despite the fact that it is only VR. «I think the challenge is to make it where you can really feel like you’re living in that world».Under this impression began to emerge Gnomes & Goblins starring with Jones and Jake Rowell, who directed theBlue.

New Frontier exhibition

Madison Wells participated in the drafting after Kisker saw theBlue himself. «My first thought was, who did this?…if they can do this with this circumstance then what else can they do?». Through a partnership with Wevr Madison Wells joined the project. It should be noted that the draft came out very intelligible: the player gets into a magical world, and gradually begins to develop. First, there appears little gnomes, flying fireflies, etc., with which you can interact. The creators have ambiguous plans about this project: neither Kisker, nor Favreau do not intend to do movie or any other medium based on this game. «If I want to do a movie, I’ll take it from that direction. It’s a lot easier for me to say, ‘I want to make a movie about goblins’. That seems to be in line with what audiences like,» – said Favreau.

However, Madison Wells plans to engaged in development stories themselves though a division which is already stuffed. Kisker says it «will be led by a core creative whose job is to staff a room and a team of IP creators and storytellers who can find the best first instance to exploit the IP and the content that they create. Those stories can then be exploited across the company’s divisions».

On this work of the company is not limited. They tend to think more broadly and connect technology the surrounding world. Partnershiping with the Void, they are experimenting with VR in a public space. Ghostbusters: Dimension VR installation in Times Square – it is their handiwork.

From partnerships with Atom Tickets they expects no less profit. «In the short run, it’s frankly about understanding what the state of—when you think about it, nobody really owned the data chain from the time you looked at a trailer to the time you bought a Frozen doll,» – Kisker says, – «so the interesting thing is, what can we learn from them about our businesses?». Gigi Pritzker herself has high hopes for this partnership. «Once you know what someone did or didn’t like, you can begin to tailor things to them through time. if we had worked with Atom Tickets, we would know who, for example, clicked on a Hell or High Water trailer but did not go to the movie in its theatrical release». She also joked: «So then, you know, we can show up their houses and drive them to the movie. And maybe buy them popcorn».

This entire story with VR technologies in association with cinema, theater, games, etc. is not fiction and not a fairy tale. As you can see, the future is already here, now. Travel into other worldsis made possible not only during the film show or in our imagination. It is not even 3D or IMAX 3D. This is a completely new level in the entertainment industry.

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