New Fox VR Division Announces Content Partnership

At the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), 21st Century Fox surprised attendees of its reception with an early look at its new Planet of the Apes virtual reality experience. On Jan. 19, the studio announced another VR experience for the franchise with a different company: VR content creator and app company Within.

Fox—which is an investor in the company—will team with Within to create a slate of virtual reality experiences in 2017, via its newly created FoxNet division, which was unveiled Jan. 18.

The Planet of the Apes VR experience is directed and produced by Within founder and CEO Chris Milk and utilizes artificial intelligence to allow viewers in different locations to interact. The experience will be available for both the Within app and for other virtual and augmented reality platforms.

In late 2016, Fox announced a partnership with cinematic VR company Felix & Paul Studios to develop and produce VR content based on Fox’s franchises.

“Virtual reality is the next generation of entertainment and Planet of the Apes provides the perfect canvas to create a new kind of filmmaking experience that will further immerse fans into the franchise,” said Salil Mehta, president of FoxNext, in a statement. “In partnership with visionary filmmakers like Chris, and companies like Within, Fox will continue to push the envelope to create immersive experiences that bring audiences into the action like never before.”

Within and FoxNext also announced they’ve partnered with Annapurna Pictures on an original VR film, I Remember You, with Milk producing and directing. That film is also being developed by director Spike Jonze.

“VR provides a unique opportunity to expose and explore the boundaries of technology and personal expression,” Milk said. “We’re confident that the opportunities of bringing narrative, plot-driven VR experiences to the mainstream outweigh the challenges. These two projects couldn’t be any more different in how we're building them, or the end result.  That’s what’s exciting about this new medium though, there is no one right answer.”