Virtual Reality is a growing trend in the entertainment world as of late, as both Pixar's Coco and Disney's Star Wars franchise have decided to take hold of the idea. With Pixar being part of Disney, it only makes sense that both would include virtual reality options for two of their big upcoming holiday releases. Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire is a hyper-reality experience meant to be an attraction, while the virtual reality experience of Coco will be made available for consumers to use with their own VR devices.
The two experiences are as different from each other as the movies. One is meant to be interactive, while the other is meant to entice a future audience. While the experience for Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire revolves around the attraction at Downtown Disney at Disneyland Resort, the Coco virtual reality experience allows users to explore the colorful world of the dead that will be seen in the film.
As reported by Variety, The Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire virtual reality experience will premiere in December and will allow users to partake in the action of a galaxy far, far away as a Stormtrooper. It was also revealed that Coco VR will be more of a viewing experience and will be launched through Oculus Rift and Gear VR headsets in November.
With technology continuing to offer new ways to bring in as many viewers as possible, Disney may be getting a jump start by offering VR experiences as a marketing tool. While Coco has had some backlash with many fans insisting the film is just like 20th Century Fox Animation's The Book of Life, Pixar is still playing up the film's lush visuals as a main selling point, and seems to view VR as an opportunity get that across and hopefully get people into theaters.
It's difficult to tell whether or not VR will become the next big thing in terms of marketing, even for films like Coco and Star Wars. After all, headsets and rigs needed to power most experiences are cost prohibitive, thereby severely limiting the potential reach of such marketing with audiences. Perhaps that's partly why Disney is choosing to make Secrets of the Empire into an attraction and not merely a marketing tool. For one thing, Star Wars doesn't really need much in the way of advertising to garner interest from fans, while keeping the VR at the park will ensure each guest gets the same experience.