Curzon Cinemas is best-known for showing art house films, and giving indie directors the opportunity to showcase their work in a commercial environment. Despite many of the films shown boast a low-budget, Curzon is not afraid to invest heavily in new technology – which is why one of its latest locations boasts the UK’s first in-cinema VR lounge.
Located in Oxford’s redeveloped Westgate shopping complex, the Curzon Oxford is a state-of-the-art cinema designed for the ultimate film buff. It features five screens across two floors, and shows a range of indie films alongside some of the latest blockbusters, such as Paddington 2 and Justice League. There’s even a café-bar offering light bites and pizza, as well as an extensive cocktail menu. Despite the swanky interior, none of these are what truly set this new cinema apart.
The true gem found inside the Curzon Oxford is its virtual reality lounge, which is the first of its kind anywhere in the UK. This lounge comes complete with 360° swivel chairs and Samsung Gear VR headsets, giving cinemagoers the opportunity to step into unique experiences before or after they get lost in the world of film.
Despite offering the UK’s first in-cinema VR lounge, it won’t be the last. IMAX was supposed to offer a VR experience at Printworks in Manchester, but so far it has yet to debut. IMAX VR has been more successful in other parts of the world, with an offering in Manhattan, Los Angeles, Shanghai and Toronto.
Despite IMAX’s failures, the UK has been a successful test-bed for VR technology. There are already countless arcades and escape rooms offering VR technology, including the UK’s highest VR experience, located 800ft above London in The Shard.
Launching VR at the Curzon Oxford will be great for local residents, however. Currently VR experiences are concentrated in London, with just one other commercial VR venue located in Oxford – inside a pub. Curzon’s commitment to new technologies is also matched by its love of older tech. That’s why the new Oxford cinema will boast both digital projectors and a single analogue 35mm projector.
The Curzon Oxford was initially supposed to open last week, although it has since been delayed – with an official opening now scheduled for December 1.