Moviegoers who arrive at the theater early are no longer a captive audience for the ads, trivia, and miscellaneous content that precede the movie trailers than run before the feature presentation, as the ubiquity of the smartphone has become the preferred distraction for early birds at the theater.
One of the companies that produces those pre-show reels, National CineMedia (NCM), wants to take back the pre-show experience by way of a mobile AR app called Noovie ARcade. With the Noovie ARcade app for iOS or Android, users can scan targets embedded in the pre-show reel or displayed in the lobby to play AR games.
"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," said Cliff Marks, president of NCM, in a statement.
The AR experience will be available this spring at 1,700 theaters, including AMC, Cinemark, Regal Entertainment, and other regional and local theater brands.
Three games will be available at launch. Cinevaders challenges players to pilot a spaceship and fire at virtual aliens emerging from a wormhole. Emoji Escape emulates the hunting portion of Pokémon Go, but with emojis replacing pocket monsters. Muncie Mania (which can be played right now by scanning the target below) is basically like skee-ball, except players shoot virtual popcorn at popcorn buckets.
Along with the Noovie ARcade experience, NCM will also help to bring AR experiences to readers of Moviebill, a "connected print" magazine distributed to customers of Regal Cinemas. The publication takes a page from others in the publishing industry by embedding augmented reality content into its pages.
"NCM and Moviebill are working with advertisers to create custom activations that have full augmented reality capabilities within the Moviebill platform," said Ian Owen-Ward, executive vice president of brand partnerships at Moviebill. "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."