Advertized as the most immersive film experience you'll ever have, IMAX 3D is a luxury that really does bring so much more depth and character to your moviegoing experience! Next year, though, IMAX is taking a step in a whole new direction with #Marvel's Inhumans TV series. It might just point the way for IMAX to expand out of the movie industry and embrace TV as well...
What's the Deal?
For the two weeks after Labour Day 2017, IMAX theaters worldwide will be showing the first two episodes of Marvel's Inhumans. These episodes will be shot with IMAX cameras, meaning they'll have a quality of special effects that Marvel TV series rarely get, and further action scenes will also be filmed using IMAX technology. ABC will then expand those first two episodes for broadcast, and use them to launch the full Inhumans series in Fall 2017.
It seems that this is IMAX's chance to expand in a whole new direction, and it's a smart move; superhero shows are in vogue right now, and showing Inhumans in late summer helps breathe new life into the late-summer period, where IMAX viewing figures usually drop. CEO Richard Gelfond told The Hollywood Reporter:
"We get to break out of our distribution niche and participate in revenue from theatrical and TV releases."
Key figures in Marvel have always seemed fairly confident of the Inhumans franchise, with an Inhumans movie originally slated as part of Phase 3 of the #MCU. Marvel clearly believe that the Inhumans property is too big for your standard TV series, so this is essentially something of a half-way-house — a significant expansion for Marvel Television, increasing the MCU's already sure-to-be-impressive box office footprint next year.
But This Is Just the Beginning
This has never been tried before, so IMAX is cautious; they're clearly at the mercy of whatever marketing approach can be agreed between Marvel, ABC, and IMAX themselves. That said, most pundits are viewing this as a certain success, and it's no surprise that IMAX's CEO told investors that the company is already looking for a second series.
This news will be particularly exciting for Marvel fans; Marvel Television has a lot of ideas in the works — from Cloak and Dagger to the rumored New Warriors — but has only really been seeing recent expansion on #Netflix. With IMAX part-funding the Inhumans series, it's possible that Marvel will be able to persuade other partners to take on Marvel properties using this format.
Of course, the reality is that, should first two episodes of The Inhumans be a success, this positions the series to perform well in the highly competitive Fall TV schedule. If this works, ABC's competitors are going to want to follow suit, and we may even see this become something of a norm.
There is one background issue, though; the international viewing rights. Most American networks sell broadcast rights internationally, and where some networks are prompt at airing shows, others take time. In the UK, Channel 4 have the rights to air Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and haven't even started showing Season 4 yet. They actually waited till after the mid-season break before starting Season 3! Worse still, they didn't confirm when they'd get round to showing Season 3 until three months after it had begun to air in the US.
With shows like The Inhumans, any delays like that could really impact the show's performance. Imagine watching the first two episodes in an IMAX cinema — and then not having any idea when you'd have the opportunity to watch the rest of the series. There's no way that wouldn't cause frustration for fans!
I'm sure Marvel, IMAX and ABC are all considering the international rights issue, but until we get more information this does remain the one thorny problem. No doubt whatever solution they come up with will become part of the template that other studios try to mimic should this approach be successful.
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For now, this is tremendously exciting news — we may be seeing a complete change in the relationship between TV and cinema, with TV shows actually exploiting the phenomenal power of the big screen. I'll be fascinated to see what happens next...
Do you think 'The Inhumans' Will Be A Success?
(Poll Image: Marvel Comics)