- Universal and the Virtual Reality Company are launching the Jurassic World VR Expedition, an interactive virtual reality (VR) game, a news release announced. The VR experience debuts on June 14 at Dave & Buster's entertainment venues nationwide and promotes "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom," which will be in theaters June 22.
- Up to four people can participate in the VR motion simulator wearing an HTV VIVE headset. For the five-minute experience, they can rescue dinosaurs roaming freely around the jungles on the fictional island of Isla Nublar at the end of the last "Jurassic World" installment. The game will be rolled out to additional VR venues worldwide.
- Jurassic World VR Expedition is part of Universal's expansion into gaming, the company said. Last year, it announced that it was building up its games team and investing more in game development.
Universal's Jurassic World VR game illustrates how Hollywood studios are incorporating more interactive experiences to promote new releases, especially through emerging marketing channels like VR and its sister technology augmented reality. By partnering with Dave & Buster's, Universal can target the millennials who make up the core customer base of the restaurant chain focused on entertainment and arcade gaming.
Studios like Universal likely feel the need to be more innovative in their marketing as they struggle to attract moviegoers to the box office and away from home video streaming platforms like Netflix. Last year, box office ticket sales dropped 2.3%, according to comScore data. Consumers in the crucial 18-to-24-year-old segment also tend to go to the movies at lower rates than other generations.
VR appears to be an increasingly appealing option for entertainment marketers given its immersive storytelling quality. Last fall, AMC Entertainment partnered with Dreamscape Immersive to bring up to six VR centers to the U.S. and the U.K. at standalone installations and repurposed movie theaters. Lionsgate and Unity Technologies collaborated on an online VR ad in October to promote the horror movie "Jigsaw."
It's not surprising that Universal is putting a heavy marketing push behind "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom," as its predecessor had boffo box office performance. Last week, the studio teamed up with Amazon for the delivery of a 40-foot long box stamped with the "Jurassic World" logo to The Grove shopping center in Los Angeles. Visitors could use Amazon's voice assistant Alexa to get clues about what was in the box and access an interactive experience with dinosaur sounds.