Friday, September 8, 2017

IMAX's Big "Inhumans" Blunder


IMAX believes that the main reason people are going to their theaters less this year is because audiences would prefer to see movies in 2D rather than 3D.  This is SUCH a misguided belief that I'm still working on a multi-part series on why this is the case!  What baffles me though is after this (very unfounded) claim was made, IMAX decided that to help turn their fortunes around they would turn to television.  No, seriously, the biggest new release theaters received this weekend was "Marvel's Inhumans," which is NOT a movie, but rather the two episode pilot to a TV series that will be airing on ABC in a few weeks.  Reportedly, the first two episodes were filmed with IMAX cameras in a deal IMAX struck with Marvel to help fund the series.  The pilot grossed about $1.5 million dollars in the opening weekend.  That is (if my numbers are correct) the lowest opening of ANY IMAX release this entire year!

I just want to pause and ask if anyone at IMAX noticed that this isn't in 3D?  No?  Alright, moving on...

So, IMAX decided that it wanted to invest heavily in "Inhumans" so that they could have the first two episodes exclusive to their screens.  Marvel - in an attempt to curb the cost of the series to make it more likely to be picked up by ABC - decided to cut the deal.  There is no word on what would have happened if the deal had gone through and ABC decided to pass on the project.  Look, I know on paper this probably sounded a little good.  And when I say it sounded good I mean it sounded good to have something on your screen that was exclusive to you that had Marvel in the title.  That must have sounded like a good deal.  Also, "Iron Fist" hadn't premiered yet, so people didn't yet realize that Marvel could make a TV series that was really terrible yet.  None of that changes the fact that this is a TV SHOW that is being put on a HUGE screen!  A TV show is going to have a MUCH lower budget than a movie and it will SHOW on an IMAX!

Heck, they already tried this with a season final of "Game of Thrones" a few years ago, and if THAT wasn't going to work on IMAX, what the heck made them think "Inhumans" would?!  So...why am I talking about this on the site?  This doesn't really have much to do with 3D, I will admit, but IMAX is on a  special list for me.  I'm going to be watching their box office VERY closely because I don't for a second believe 3D is the reason IMAX attendance is down!  I believe it is the movies they decide to show.  I believe it is because the screens are getting smaller while the surcharge is going up.  I believe it is because when you compare those smaller screens to RPX and XD (both of which are a couple dollars cheaper) there is virtually no difference.  Heck, I believe they are suffering just like all the other theaters out there due to lower than expected ticket sales in general this year.  In an attempt to spin it though, they saw the success of "Dunkirk" and decided 3D was the problem.

Now though...now, they have given me a gift.  They invested MILLIONS of dollars in this deal with Marvel to get "Inhumans" on IMAX screens!  A show that (now that I've seen it) is average at best and looks cheap on the giant screen.  The box office was less than $2 million dollars for it's entire week.  This is the LOWEST grossing IMAX release of the year!  So low was this figure, that a last minute limited release of "It" for IMAX is getting a considerably bigger rollout today.  Yet, not only was "Inhumans" in 2D, but it's a production IMAX wasted valuable money in.  Money, I'm certain, they could have probably used to help get through the ticket drought.  Also, "Wonder Woman" came back in IMAX 3D for a week and did VERY well while a 2D only engagement of "War for the Planet of the Apes" left no impact!  However...there is something else IMAX isn't getting, and it's something we can look at in a future post.

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