New Imax VR puts John Wick’s gun in your hand

In one Toronto cinema’s lobby, booths let people immerse themselves briefly in movie experiences.

An employee demonstrating the Justice League: An IMAX VR experience at Cineplex's Scotiabank Theatre in Toronto. (CARLOS OSORIO/TORONTO STAR)

“On your left, Mr. Wick. Excellent shot,” intones Lance Reddick’s voice as my submachine-gun does its business, cutting down an assassin who would surely do worse to me. There is plenty more where he came from.

Despite the rules clearly articulated in the John Wick movies about conducting business there, I am on the roof of the Continental Hotel, eliminating waves of baddies in the John Wick Chronicles, while the disembodied voice of the dog-sitting front-desk clerk cheers me on. Or that’s how it feels. In actuality, I am in one of the new virtual-reality experiences available at the new Imax VR, a series of 10 booths located in the lobby of the Scotiabank Theatre Toronto.

The first Imax VR station in Canada — and fourth in the world — are a partnership with Cineplex and will feature experiences that tie into movies: along with the mayhem of the Wick simulator there are several Justice League VR experiences and a Star Trek bridge simulation games, as well as other video-game experiences.

“The thing that VR has in common (with our big screen business) is that it’s immersive,” says Imax Theatres president Mark Welton. “This correlates well with the movie industry, especially when you have something like Justice League — you go upstairs, buy a ticket to a Imax or Cineplex movie, then you come downstairs and drive the Batmobile and really get into the movie.”