Immersive entertainment has only been around for about three years, but it’s already become immensely successful.
- Immersive shows are a new form of entertainment where art is virtually projected against walls for an enclosed audience space.
- The phenomenon began with Immersive Van Gogh exhibitions opening up in several U.S. cities in 2020 but has expanded with multiple different new exhibitions including Immersive Monet, Beyond King Tut, Lumina Night Walks, Inter_, SuperReal, and more.
- Lighthouse Immersive, which began the project, reports that it has made $250 million in overall revenue—and specifically sold five million tickets between February 2021 and May 2022, Axios reports.
Why it’s News
The pandemic slowed down entertainment venues, struggling to bring in audiences that have been conditioned to find entertainment at home and who have largely shifted towards streaming media and remote working. With the proliferation of vaccines and the end of mask mandates, millions of people are itching to attend shows again.
“People are yearning to ditch their sofas and phone screens for transcendent experiences that let them move around and mingle, untethered from a theater seat or virtual reality headset. The surprise popularity of the half-a-dozen competing Immersive Van Gogh exhibitions that hit the U.S. during the COVID-19 pandemic helped open the floodgates for similar shows, which make world-class art and artifacts more accessible and engaging,” says Axios.
Immersive Van Gogh emerged during the pandemic and provided socially distanced seating that helped it stand apart in a time when crowds were still weary of public gatherings. It has only grown since.
New shows and variations on immersive experiences are opening and building upon the technology that Lighthouse Immersive builds, some using existing architecture as its base or including features like smells and fog effects.
“Advances in projection mapping enable producers to build dazzling spectacles,” says Axios.
“You walk in and become transported to another world. It puts you in a Zen place, a calming place … [When I first saw Immersive Van Gogh,] I couldn’t understand how you could have a very successful immersive show in a market where you had all the greatest museums in the world, and then I realized that it was a new art form, if you will,” says Paquin Entertainment CEO Gilles Paquin.