IMAX has moved Marvel’s Inhumans screenings to make room on its giant screens of the latest cinematic Stephen King adaptation, IT. The opening installments of Marvel’s new ABC event series were shot especially with the IMAX format in mind, with an abridged version of the two first episodes debuting on IMAX screens on September 1. IT, on the other hand, was not originally planned for the IMAX treatment.
This news may not come as a huge surprise, especially if you’ve been keeping up with the news from both camps: the IMAX Inhumans event was met by mostly critical disappointment, with Screen Rant’s Kevin Yeoman describing it as a “listless, uninspired premiere”; on the other hand, IT has taken the box office by storm, breaking numerous September records and remaining on track to rake in more cash. The internet has taken a liking to Bill Skarsgård’s Pennywise, as well, with the character quickly being adopted as a gay icon and getting paired up with The Babadook in fan art.
Related: IT to Top Box Office in Second Weekend
Rich Gelfond, IMAX CEO, has spoken to The Wrap about this scheduling switcheroo. He described Inhumans as “a September fill-in that we had helped create”, noting that the Marvel premiere “did fine in its first weekend, [making] two-and-a-half million dollars.” At the same time, IT was “getting a lot of positive buzz” in the buildup to its September 8 release. But still, financial predictions weren’t particularly high for the film, so Geldfond held off on booking in IMAX showings. Soon enough, though, IT’s amazing numbers changed his mind.
“I think people thought it would open to about $70 million”, Gelfond revealed. “So everybody was surprised by about 100 percent by what the results were.” Indeed, the film’s opening weekend was significantly bigger than that: IT earned $123 million domestically, contributing to a worldwide total of $185 million – the biggest horror movie opening of all time.
Gelfond knew that something had to change with IMAX’s programming. As he puts it, “when you saw a train like that coming down the tracks in IT, it made a lot of sense to regroup”. And so, “with very little marketing and very little time to get in it”, IMAX used its automated DMR system to convert IT to the right format and push it out to IMAX theaters.
Screens were taken away from Inhumans in the process of doing this, but the move paid off. “We made very nice revenues”, Gelfond noted, with The Wrap citing that IT has made $10 million on IMAX screens so far. This was obviously a savvy piece of business from Gelfond and his team.
However, you could argue that Marvel’s Inhumans has been given short shrift as a result. Marvel promoted the heck out its unique IMAX partnership and the centerpiece of that was the fact that fans could see the Inhumans premiere in IMAX. But now, in order to make way for the box office steamroller of IT, this partnership has been pushed to the side somewhat. Presumably, Marvel will be hoping that the televisual launch of Inhumans can garner some strong numbers to make up for it.
Inhumans premieres on ABC on Friday, September 29.
Source: The Wrap