The 2014 action film John Wick made just $43 million at the domestic box office, but the low-cost movie still proved to be a hit for Lionsgate. It got a nice boost from the international markets (worldwide gross: $130.8 million on a $20 million budget), and an enthusiastic response from critics and moviegoers alike made it clear to the studio they had a winner.
Production has already commenced on the sequel, John Wick 2, and now Lionsgate is looking to expand their franchise through other avenues. Fans will now be able to explore one of the film's most unique and memorable locations through a virtual reality (VR) experience that's looking to push boundaries - and take the technology to the next level of user interaction.
According to Variety, Lionsgate has teamed up with the company Wevr to produce the John Wick virtual reality experience that HTC will show off on their global road show for the HTC Live VR headset. In the VR, users will become Wick as he explores the Continental Hotel. As you may recall, the hotel was one of the more interesting aspects of the film. It served as a safe haven for Wick and his assassin colleagues and was a place that operated by its own code and standards. Moviegoers are eager to see more of the Continental, so it's easy to see why it would become the VR experience.
The fully animated VR experience will have several points of interaction for users to explore. As Wick, players will have to figure out how to bribe the concierge, pick up dubious clues, and dodge bullets when someone breaks that aforementioned code of conduct and attacks John Wick's hotel room. The experience incorporates Vive's motion tracking technology, which will allow users to move within the 10x10 feet space; meaning, they will have room to walk around and check things out. You will also be able to use Vive's handheld controllers to touch things within the environment.
It's all part of Wevr's initiative to revolutionize VR technology. Their goal is to create experiences that go beyond the basic 360 degree video display (see: this tour of Jakku for Star Wars: The Force Awakens) and tell a narrative. They want to include "story triggers" in their VR experiences, which are objects that users can view or touch to unlock parts of the story. Should they pull this off successfully, it will be something that's even more immersive than the typical VR experience. And since Lionsgate is planning a full-blown John Wick VR video game for release sometime next year, they obviously have high hopes users will respond highly to it.
When we broke down why John Wick could make a great franchise, one of the reasons we listed was that it had multimedia potential. The rich mythos the first film only hinted at means there's great potential across a multitude of platforms to flesh out the world and enhance how viewers see the movie. Creating an ambitious VR experience should not only be able to accomplish those goals, but also increase the hype and anticipation for John Wick 2. It's smart marketing all around.
We'll keep you updated on John Wick 2 as more information becomes available.