Secret Cinema presents Back to the Future (2014) by Camilla Greenwell (Wikimedia Commons)

New cinematic era marked by Disney’s ‘immersive’ deal

“Watching movies will never be the same again”

Disney’s recent deal with the immersive experience company Secret Cinema signals a new era for the cinema industry. New film titles from the Disney portfolio will be staged as immersive experiences in London by Secret Cinema later in 2020 before being exported to America.

Secret Cinema is renowned for its expanded immersive cinematic worlds staged in a variety of disused warehouses and open-air locations, creating experiences that last for several hours. Costumed participants surrender their phones and interact with characters from the film the event is based on and with each other. This all leads up to an augmented screening of the film.

Trends suggest that investors see immersive experiences as a hot sector, so the economic and cultural implications of this deal for the US$160 billion (£123 billion) global sector are huge. The unique combination of Disney’s global reach and the successful track record of Secret Cinema means that this powerful partnership will shape the global direction of the immersive experience economy for years to come.

This is a sector that favours experience over product. What began in live music, festivals and sporting events has spread to all aspects of the leisure economy. Dining out, shopping and film going have all been made into engaging experiences – and the more immersive and escapist, the better.

Secret Cinema has been building its brand since 2007 when it started with small, underground and clandestine events such as for the indie film Paranoid Park in a disused railway tunnel. As the operation grew, Secret Cinema productions gradually became big box office events and they have repeatedly found themselves towards the top of the box office charts, even when staging events based around films that are over 20 years old…

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Main image: Secret Cinema presents Back to the Future (2014) by Camilla Greenwell (Wikimedia Commons)

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