20th Century Fox has announced a virtual reality spinoff of Ridley Scott’s space adventure The Martian, approved by the director himself, to debut at this week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The virtual reality market is expected to boom to the tune of $5.4 billion over the next decade as the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive gain visibility in the public eye, and it seems to be a natural next step for the film industry as consumers search for more immersive, interactive viewing experiences. And of all the films released last year, it’s hard to think of any that provide a cooler setting for VR than a gripping action drama on another planet.
The Martian virtual reality experience will last between 20 and 30 minutes and place users in Mark Watney’s position: stranded on Mars, forced to complete a series of ingenious hacks and harrowing tasks to ensure their survival. The project, which will also include footage from the film, was directed by Robert Stromberg, who handled production design for Avatar and Alice in Wonderland.
It will be interesting to see how the pioneering project is received at CES. There’s no doubt that the visual experience will be stunning, but it seems that success will hinge on whether the VR Martian can replicate the combination of edge-of-seat suspense and wry comedy that characterized the movie (largely thanks to Matt Damon’s performance). In any case, the fact that Fox has invested heavily in it suggests that we’ll be seeing more virtual reality/film crossovers in the coming months.
Read our review of The Martian here.