In a first, a VR short will become a Hollywood movie, By Steven Zeitchik

A screen shot from Baobab Studios’ “Invasion!” (Baobab Studios)

Over its short life, virtual-reality entertainment has often been spun out of traditional Hollywood productions, whether an episodic piece based on “The Martian” or a more participatory experience derived from “Ghostbusters.”

But the transom has rarely if ever gone the other way–an original VR piece has never been turned into a Hollywood movie.

The director of the “Madgascar” series of animated films, Eric Darnell, and the veteran Hollywood producer Joe Roth aim to change that.

“Invasion!,” a six-minute animated VR short created earlier this year by Darnell and his company Baobab Studios, will be developed as a traditional full-length animated feature by Roth’s production company Roth Kirschenbaum, the parties are expected to announce Monday.

“We’re always looking at properties with rich characters and a cinematic universe in any form — whether it’s a graphic novel or a short film or a book,” said Zack Roth, Joe’s son and an executive at Roth Kirschenbaum. “When we saw ‘Invasion!’ we realized VR was just another place to look for stories.”

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