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Fox’s New VR Unit FoxNext Partners With Chris Milk’s Within for ‘Planet of the Apes’ Experience

Variety logo Variety 1/19/2017 Janko Roettgers
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A mere day after unveiling FoxNext as its new division for immersive entertainment, 20th Century Fox is making more virtual reality (VR) news: FoxNext has partnered with Chris Milk’s VR startup Within to produce a slate of VR experiences.

These titles include a”Planet of the Apes” experience as well as an original VR film produced by Milk, Spike Jonze as well as Megan Ellison and Annapurna Pictures.  The results of this partnership will be available via the Within app, and are expected to be released this year.

FoxNext was announced Wednesday as a joint division of 20th Century Fox Film and the Fox Networks Group. The division, which is being led by veteran Fox executive Salil Mehta, is being tasked with developing virtual and augmented reality as well as video games and other interactive experiences. It has its roots in the Fox Innovation Lab, which released “The Martian VR Experience” last year.

Coincidentally, Fox already announced a “Planet of the Apes” VR experience that is being produced with Imaginati Studio at CES earlier this month. However, the cooperation with Within will result in a separate experience; FoxNext said in a release that the Within experience will be directed and produced by Within founder and CEO Chris Milk, and that it will “utilize artificial intelligence to deliver a shared social experience.”

Within was founded in 2014 under the name VRSE by Milk and former Googler Aaron Koblin. Last June, the company raised $12.6 million in funding from Fox, Legendary Pictures and others. Recently, Within launched a five-part documentary series titled “The Possible” in conjunction with Here Be Dragons, GE, the Sloan Foundation and Mashable.

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