National CineMedia to bring augmented reality to movie theatres

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National CineMedia (NCM) is pioneering interactive augmented reality gaming in theaters this spring with the launch of “Noovie ARcade,” a companion app to NCM’s “Noovie” pre-show and Lobby Entertainment Network.

Noovie ARcade is available in the iOS and Android app stores. NCM expects it to be rolled out nationwide this spring on over 20,600 screens in 1,700 theatres across the country including AMC, Cinemark, Regal Entertainment Group and 49 other regional and local theatre chains in time for the start of blockbuster season.

To play, audiences only need to download the app and arrive at their local Noovie theatre early to catch the Noovie pre-show, which will prompt them to take out their phone when it’s time to play. Then, the big screen and other triggers around the lobby will unlock larger-than-life games enabled by aiming their cellphone.

Noovie ARcade games at launch will include:

    Cinevaders: A galactic wormhole opens up and aliens pour out to invade the theatre. It’s up to the player to use powerful lasers to protect the earth from certain destruction.

    Emoji Escape: The emojis in your phone have escaped and are wreaking havoc in the theatre lobby. Catch them all before the movie starts!

    Munchie Mania: Who doesn’t like popcorn at the movies? Players will toss flying kernels to fill up their individual popcorn bucket—and you can play at home.

Noovie ARcade also creates new integrated cinema marketing opportunities that connect brands with movie audiences, including branded game experience customizations, digital ad inventory and real-time, detailed auditorium-level audience data. The Noovie ARcade platform is designed to encompass a variety of game formats, including shooting, catching, tossing and driving games, and advertisers will have the opportunity to work with NCM to create imaginative branded Noovie ARcade games for the big screen and beyond with select gaming experiences that can be triggered anywhere.

Noovie was designed around the three pillars of content, commerce and gaming, and I’m very proud to introduce the first in-theater AR gaming experience to the industry,” said Cliff Marks, president of NCM. “Noovie ARcade drives fan engagement and excitement through a unique digital experience, which makes it not only great entertainment for movie audiences, but a great opportunity for brands looking to reach them. Hold on to your popcorn, because the movie experience just got a whole lot better!”

NCM is also putting AR directly into the hands of moviegoers in Regal Entertainment Group theatres through a sales agreement with Moviebill , the first ever augmented-reality-driven “connected print” magazine. With Moviebill, opening-weekend audiences for big tentpole movies can read and engage with exclusive content, special features and bonus material using their mobile phones and unlock a world of AR experiences from major studios and brands.

“NCM and Moviebill are working with advertisers to create custom activations that have full augmented-reality capabilities within the Moviebill platform. With a seven-figure circulation commitment per edition, Moviebill will be one of the most highly circulated physical entertainment media outlets at launch to an audience of highly desirable moviegoers,” said Ian Owen-Ward, executive VP of brand partnerships at Moviebill.

Lawrence Snapp, NCM’s chief digital officer and senior VP, corporate development, noted, “Noovie ARcade interactive gameplay is the only immersive experience that ties the ubiquity of the smartphone to the magnitude of the movie screen, and shifts the Noovie experience from passive viewing to active gaming and play. It pulls people in, and excites and delights them in a way that is unique to the theatre environment, which is tailor-made for such an immersive experience.

“It also dovetails perfectly with our audience of young Millennial movie influencers in search of what’s next in entertainment,” Snapp continued. “Going to the movies provides a social and personal experience that they crave. Our audiences love their smartphones, our theatres, and compelling augmented-reality games. For brands looking to interact with this key demographic of cord-nevers and cord-cutters, a movie theatre AR experience is about as on-target as you can get.”