Inhumans was meant to kick off a bold new venture for IMAX and Marvel—the first collaboration of its kind to use IMAX technology to film a network TV show. The result was that audiences were supposed to see a TV show experience worthy of a theater screen. Instead, audiences got Inhumans. Now even the CEO of IMAX agrees it didn’t work.
Speaking to investors during a recent earnings call, IMAX’s Rich Gelfond admitted that the deal—which saw theatrical screenings of Inhumans’ two-part that exclusively premiered across IMAX theaters weeks before the show hit ABC—did not match up to anyone’s expectations. Not IMAX’s, because the screenings drew in a paltry $3.5 million dollars, but according to Gelfond, not the audience’s either, describing the show as a “misalignment of customer expectations.”
Customers expected a production akin to a mega-budget blockbuster movie, rather than pilots for a television show. Moreover, the fact that this was Marvel IP set the bar at a level you wouldn’t see from other pieces of content or IP because of the reputation and the high production value of Marvel movies.
Inhumans has admittedly looked rough from the get-go, but Gelfond is right. Fans expecting something that was worth paying for a cinematic experience for instead got... Medusa’s terrible CG hair. Inhumans’ VFX might be considered good enough for primetime ABC—might—but not to put in the same format Marvel Studios releases its multi-million-dollar blockbuster movies in.
In the end, the deal went so poorly for IMAX that Gelfond added it’s probably going to be the last deal of its kind, at least for the foreseeable future:
Going forward, we intend to take a more conservative approach consistent with the Game of Thrones approach to capital investments and content. We will be more conservative when considering whether to invest our own capital; and if so, to what extent.