Fortnite Movie Nite: Christopher Nolan's hit films screen in-game

BBC Technology 26 Jun 2020 05:04
By David Molloy & Leo Kelion Technology news
The poster for The Prestige is composited onto a promo image from Epic in this photo illsutrationImage copyright EPic Games

Fortnite players stowed away their guns this week to kick back for a movie screening instead.

Three of Christopher Nolan's biggest films - The Dark Knight, Inception, and The Prestige - were shown in the game's Party Royale mode.

What players saw, and at what time, depended on what country you're in.

But why would anyone want to watch a film inside a video game?

Join the metaverse

"The real world is unbeatable, in my opinion," says Darshan Shankar, the founder of Bigscreen VR - a company that lets users watch films together in cinemas created within virtual reality.

Image copyright Bigscreen VR

"Things like Fortnite and Bigscreen don't necessarily replace the awesomeness of a real world cinema," he says, instead it's about being "able to watch things together with people".

But Fortnite - like Bigscreen - has the potential to take this to another level by giving users a sense of being in the same space.

It's not the first time Fortnite has tried something like this. It debuted a clip from the last Star Wars movie last year, and was also first to show a trailer for Nolan's next film, Tenet, in May.

For obvious reasons, in-game movie screenings don't face the same health-risk headaches.

Director John Madden: 'I wouldn't object'

The Oscar-nominated director of Shakespeare in Love, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and Miss Sloane took time out from editing his latest movie to give the BBC his view on Fortnite's Movie Nite phenomenon

"That said, Christopher Nolan's work might seem a better fit than mine to the Fortnite community!

It's all part of what the media is calling Fortnite's "metaverse" - a move to turning the game into a place to hang out, rather than just play it the way it was designed.

Image copyright Getty Images

That hardly sounds like perfect film-viewing conditions.

Visitors watched a DeLorean racing round the audience at its Back to the Future event, and the crowd twirling in time at its Dirty Dancing experience.

There's some "richness that's missed" without other people, he says.

And like Secret Cinema itself, he says there is the opportunity to "have a relationship with everybody else - not just the people you've come with".

'You want your art to be seen'

As an example, he recalls his video-taped copy of Peter Jackson's 1987 sci-fi film Bad Taste.

And he adds he would welcome the opportunity for a new generation of film fans to discover his movie Double Date within a video game.

"What's worse? No-one seeing your film, or loads of people seeing your film, but not in the perfect circumstances?"

Nolan himself hasn't said why he got on board with Fortnite. And it might seem an odd tie-up for a director known to be a champion of the real-world cinema screen.

"When we do anything like this, it's always born and driven from a relationship between creatives trying to bring something we think is awesome to life," said Epic's creative director Donald Mustard.

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FortniteThe PrestigeDarshan ShankarBigscreen VRBigscreen
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