Dreamscape Immersive – whose backers include Steven Spielberg, film composer Hans Zimmer, several Hollywood studios, and former top DreamWorks and Disney Imagineering executives – expands its high-end virtual-reality centers into the Midwest beginning this week, partnering with investor AMC Theatres to open in an Ohio mall.
The Dreamscape facility will open in AMC’s operations at the Easton Town Center in Columbus, Ohio, where the largest U.S. theater chain already runs a 30-screen traditional movie complex with an IMAX screen and more.
“The addition of this incredible Dreamscape experience will help ensure that Easton remains a premier entertainment destination, with audiences coming back to visit again and again,” said AMC Entertainment CEO and President Adam Aron.
Dreamscape launched in 2018 in Los Angeles, and recently opened immersive theaters in Dallas and Dubai. More domestic and international centers are planned, including in the New York area later this year.
The new facility will initially offer Dreamscape’s first three immersive experiences, “Alien Zoo,” the Indiana Jones-style adventure “Curse of the Lost Pearl: A Magic Projector Adventure” and, the undersea “The Blu: Deep Rescue.”
Earlier this winter, the company debuted a fourth experience built around the DreamWorks Animation franchise, How to Train Your Dragon. That and other new experiences will be rotated into the various Dreamscape facilities over time.
All four of the Dreamscape offerings feature a more cinematic and theatrical sensibility, with less of the shoot-’em-up video-game roots of immersive experiences from some competitors in the location-based entertainment sector.
That approach is unsurprising given the company’s backers and founders, who also include Chairman Walter Parkes, an Oscar-nominated writer/producer (Awakenings) and DreamWorks Studio chief, and CEO Bruce Vaughn, former chief creative officer for Disney Imagineering. Other Hollywood backers include ViacomCBS and WarnerMedia.
“At Dreamscape, our singular goal is to create magical memories between families and friends that can’t be experienced anywhere else,” said Vaughn. “We do this by building unforgettable immersive worlds and fusing them together with stories filled with adventure, joy, collaborative challenges, and heartwarming moments.
Easton CEO Jennifer Peterson said the mall receives 30 million visitors annually. Adding a VR experience will provide another high-end experience to entice still more people to the mall. The Town Center mall is undergoing a $500 million expansion, but already features 240 stores and restaurants. It is part of a 1,300-acre mixed-use development in northeast Columbus, created by The Georgetown Company and L Brands with Steiner Associates, which runs the mall.