Inhumans has probably been Marvel's most troubled project to date. It started off as a movie, but Kevin Feige swiftly dropped it when he became independent from Marvel CEO Ike Perlmutter. Marvel Television swiftly picked it up as a TV show, putting together a unique and experimental partnership with IMAX. On Friday night's television premiere on ABC, fans were finally about to see this very beleaguered show and decide for themselves whether or not they believe the hype. Interestingly, the ratings for Inhumans is is now and those ratings are very revealing, to say the least, about this lightning rod in the MCU.
Here Are The Facts
It turns out Inhumans was watched by an audience of 3.8 million viewers. It also scored only 0.9 in the key demographic of adults aged 18-49. That makes Inhumans the first fall premiere this year to score below 1.0, and there's no way to argue that isn't disappointing.
Inhumans was always going to have a difficult start. The series really got off on the wrong foot, with fans deriding the wig Serinda Swan wore to play the part of Medusa. Meanwhile, critics were unimpressed with their first viewings, leading to difficult conversations with the cast and crew at the Television Critics Association summer tour. It even led poor Anson Mount, who plays Black Bolt, to quip, "You're making me feel like Ben Affleck right now," in reference to the Sad Affleck meme.
The show's performance at IMAX cinemas was generally viewed as disappointing, although in truth it's worth noting that TV series never perform well at the box office. The show made $2.6 million at IMAX cinemas worldwide in its opening weekend, easily beating the only directly comparable show, the finale of Game of Thrones Season 4 (which grossed $2 million at the box office).
A Complex Scenario
The problem is that Inhumans is actually a relatively bold experiment. We've never seen a TV show handled in this manner before. The first two episodes were released at IMAX cinemas worldwide just short of a month before they'd air on the ABC network. That means the hard-core Marvel fans actually had a chance to see this on the big screen, and given the poor critical reception, it's likely they were the ones who turned out at the box office.
The question, then, would be whether these fans would choose to watch the first episodes again on ABC less than a month later. It's very possible that last night's viewing figures were impacted by the loss of a core part of the audience, who simply didn't want to rewatch these episodes. If that's the case, we may actually see next week's viewing figures change a little, as Marvel fans who'd paid out at IMAX tune in to see what happens next.
It's certainly clear that Inhumans isn't going to be an unparalleled success for #Marvel. At the same time, though, it shouldn't be written off as a failure just yet. The reality is that we've never seen a TV show launch with this format before, and we have no idea what to expect in terms of viewing patterns. The real test will be how Inhumans performs next week.
Did you watch 'Inhumans' on ABC?