IMAX and ABC’s experiment with the launch of “Marvel’s Inhumans” is pretty much over and by all accounts, it was a dud.
Originally planned as a film, the property was turned into an ABC TV series and IMAX signed on to co-produce and co-finance it – in exchange for premiering the first two episodes in its large-format theatres for a two-week engagement before it went to air on ABC in the Fall.
Box-office came in at just $3.5 million, below expectations, while critical reaction was in the toilet. Even the two week window proved somewhat shortchanged as the super screen chain opted to put on screenings of box-office champion and far more profitable “IT” during the second week of the exclusive window.
In a statement this week, IMAX CEO Rich Gelfond has blamed the show’s disappointing reception in cinemas on a ‘misalignment of customer expectations’. He adds:
“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.
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.”
Indeed even before its release, “Inhumans” was criticised heavily for its low production values with unfinished visual effects and a notably cheap look. How much the “Inhumans” failure cost the company is unclear, but at least Gelfond is going on the record about it unlike both ABC and Marvel execs who are staying quiet about the show.