Stephen King’s clown horror It is quickly becoming one of this year’s most-surprising hits— so surprising, in fact, that IMAX came this close to dropping the ball on getting it into their theaters. And you can partially thank Marvel’s Inhumans for that.
It was released in theaters on September 8, but the IMAX screenings weren’t announced until mid August, which was pretty last minute. In comparison, Thor: Ragnarok got an IMAX trailer in April and the movie doesn’t come out until October 25.
According to IMAX CEO Rich Gelfond, there were no plans to bring It to IMAX until they saw the positive buzz the film was getting. Not only did no one expect the movie to do this well, but IMAX had already spent a lot of time (and money) promoting Inhumans, the first TV series filmed using IMAX cameras.
“We were playing a September fill-in that we had helped create, which was the first two episodes of Marvel’s Inhumans, an ABC series,” Gelfond said at Goldman Sachs Communicopia. “But when you saw a train like that coming down the tracks in It, it made a lot of sense to regroup.”
Turns out, that quick addition was a very smart choice, as It grossed over $7-million in IMAX theaters opening weekend, breaking box office records for both September and horror releases in IMAX. As of now, Inhumans has brought in a little over $2-million, which is okay but not amazing. Then again, putting a network TV show in theaters is always going to be a risky venture. At least IMAX managed to get in on the It action before it was too late.