They say blondes have more fun, but it’s the Greek billionaires who really have things figured out. Some of them spend their wealth on $154 million yachts; others commission Andy Warhol to paint a portrait of their skull. Alki David, founder of the Internet-based live TV provider FilmOn, is choosing to spend his dough on creating the world’s first hologram theater right in the heart of Hollywood.
David is the owner of Hologram USA, the company that has taken credit for bringing the Tupac hologram to Coachella in 2012 and Michael Jackson’s hologram to the Billboard Music Awards in 2014. (Two other companies, Digital Domain and AV Concepts, disputed this claim in court.) Regardless of the holograms’ origins, the end results were phenomenal. (Though yes, you’re right—technically “hologram” is a misnomer, as Tupac and Michael weren’t appearing as 3D light forms. What you saw, and what Hologram USA deals in, is actually a large-scale version of the centuries-old optical illusion known as Pepper’s Ghost.)
Since then, David and Co. have been honing the technology in their Beverly Hills offices, where they work their magic on everyone from humans to dinosaurs.
The theater is the culmination of David’s investment in the tech. Last year, flashy signage was quietly installed at 6656 Hollywood Blvd., formerly the Ritz Theater, announcing the impending arrival of a hologram theater. Delay after delay stalled the opening, but according to Hollywood USA, the theater is finally set to welcome visitors starting November 1. The space will likely become known for virtual resurrection of celebrities (Hologram USA has reportedly struck deals with the estates of singers like Whitney Houston, Jackie Wilson, Billie Holiday, and Buddy Holly as well as comedians like Andy Kaufman and Redd Foxx), but they’ll also be dealing in MMA fights and even something called a Sexy Hollywood Freak Show, which sounds like it might be geared to a nighttime crowd.
West Hollywood’s Alchemy has been tapped to run the concessions at the theater, which will provide vegan, gluten-free snacks like vegan chocolate shakes and CBD oil-infused popcorn and chocolates (that’s cannabis oil-infused, for the uninitiated), a nod to David’s own vegan leanings. Standard tickets are $19.99, while the $39.99 VIP ticket option includes some CBD oil-infused chocolates and luxury balcony seating.
Besides the theater, Hologram USA has also partnered with the Laugh Factory to “beam” live sets from comedians into venues all over the country, like when Jimmy Kimmel was in Hollywood and Nashville at the same time:
On top of that, dedicated hologram theaters are set to open in Chicago and Foxwoods, Connecticut, and a hologram pilot program will be tested in Landmark chains in Glendale and Indianapolis. David even sees the tech being used in classrooms. “Imagine Einstein being beamed into multiple schools at the same time to give his take on his own theorems,” he told Rolling Stone.
As Lin-Manuel Miranda-as-Hamilton might say—and hey, speaking of smart dead dudes, let’s get a hologram of that guy in the works—look around at how lucky we are to be alive right now.