The deal between ABC, Marvel, and IMAX to debut the first two episodes of Inhumans in theaters via IMAX’s wide format showings drew some criticism at the time once critical reviews started to be released. The production schedule did the show no favors and it led to the show stumbling out of the gates. While it has come around according to the most recent reviews, the CEO of IMAX seems to think that the “experiment” of releasing it in theaters won’t happen again any time soon.
CEO Rich Gelfond commented to Deadline about Inhumans and its performance at theaters — pulling in just slightly over $3 million — and he attributed most of the trouble to “misalignment of customer expectations” according to Deadline:
“Customers expected a production akin to a mega-budget blockbuster movie, rather than pilots for a television show,” Gelfond said. “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 was initially planned as part of Marvel Studios film slate before being transferred to the television side with ABC, disappointing many fans who were expecting an Inhumans film to bolster the end of Marvel’s latest slate of films. The split between the television and film sides of Marvel Studios has been noted in the past and Inhumans is one of the main focal points for this split according to past reports. As Deadline adds, Marvel TV’s Jeph Loeb and Jim Chory did not comment on Inhumans and actually walked away when asked about the show.
For IMAX, Gelfond seems to feel that the company won’t be investing in any television shows in the near future, at least not without a lot of planning:
“Going forward, we intend to take a more conservative approach consistent with the Game of Thrones approach to capital investments and content,”
If anything, that seems like a sound decision based on what happened with Inhumans. Away from the content of the show, it is odd to pay to watch a television pilot in a movie theater.