'You're Controlling the Movie': Interactive Tech Will Guide Spielberg Production

Kino Industries' co-CEOs Tobias Weber and Chady Eli Mattar
August 19, 2019

Steven Spielberg is venturing into interactive film with a (currently-untitled) haunted house horror project. The movie, announced last week and to be directed by 'Crawl' director Alexandre Aja, will have a choose-your-own-adventure plotline that follows in the footsteps of projects like Netflix's "Bandersnatch," relying on interactive content technology from the startup Kino Industries.

That company will be providing an app called CtrlMovie to Spielberg's Amblin Productions that will help construct the film's "branch narrative," which outlines the various choices audience members can make throughout an interactive film.

The company's co-CEO, Chady Eli Mattar, told Cheddar that in movie theaters, audiences will vote on what choices characters should make as the film progresses.

"Every individual will have their own voice, but collectively — and democratically — the story changes. And that's the main thing: we're trying to bring everyone into the dialogue," he said, though the company has also translated the system for the individual streaming experience.

"It's still very much like the cinematic experience that you see in the movie theater, but for the first time, really, you have a say in the movie. And you're controlling the movie as the audience, and that's the exciting part," co-CEO Tobias Weber said.

As movie theater attendance in the U.S. falls, the company's executives say interactive plotlines may be a way to bring audiences back.

In 2017, Kino Industries — whose name appears to reference the first interactive movie ever made — unveiled its technology for the first time, debuting an interactive film called "Late Shift" that follows a boy who is roped into robbing an auction house.

Weber and Mattar emphasize that the format can be used beyond horror and adventure films, adding that they currently have romantic comedy, "family-friendly," and documentary interactive movies all in the works.

Fox is also reportedly working on an interactive movie series based on the similarly-structured "Choose Your Own Adventure" book-series using Kino Industries' technology.

That publishing company is actually suing Netflix, which has invested heavily in building software for its growing interactive content offerings, for violating its trademark when it released "Bandersnatch".