There's a new Spider-Man on the block, and his concept of high technology doesn't involve an automated costume.
In the age of the blockbuster movie, it's a given that extravagant special effects are a big part of driving the narrative. With its wildly successful "Avengers" franchise, Marvel appears to have the market cornered on computer graphics and deftly written scripts that dazzle audience.
But with "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse," Sony is staking a claim of its own, utilizing top shelf technology to boost the prospects of a movie that's been widely praised for its ingenuity. Not related to the Marvel Cinematic Universe's friendly-neighborhood wall-crawler, the animated feature that opened on Friday centers on Miles Morales, a teen that's taken on the costumed alter-ego of Peter Parker after a dramatic turn of events.
In order to bring the black and Puerto Rican superhero to life for moviegoers, Sony teamed up with 8th Wall, a cross-platform augmented-reality (AR) start-up, and Trigger, a mixed-reality agency. For added effect, the mobile web experience uses Sumerian, a tool for building interactive scenes from public cloud provider Amazon Web Services.
In the process, "Into the Spider-Verse" is helping to break new ground with AR technology, which most tech-savvy users may recognize from the cultural phenomenon of "Pokemon Go." Now, AR is being used with increasing regularity to make animated features, and promote them as well.
"AR allows characters to come to life. You can experience and engage in ways that you never could with traditional media," said Erik Murphy-Chutorian, 8th Wall's founder and CEO, told CNBC in a recent interview. He explained how the emerging technology has helped to boost interest among mobile users.
"What this AR does is you take your phone, you go to a web page, and you can take pictures with Spider-Man. For fans, it is a way to engage with the franchise. It is the digital equivalent of going to a theme park and taking pictures with your favorite character," Murphy-Chutorian added.