×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

What Marvel’s ‘Inhumans’ IMAX Performance Means for ABC Series

Audiences got their first look at Marvel Television’s upcoming ABC series “Inhumans” over the Labor Day weekend, though not on TV. But soft numbers at the feature-film box office are not an encouraging sign for how the show will perform on TV.

As part of a unique production partnership, Marvel, ABC Studios, and IMAX mounted a theatrical release for the first two episodes of the superhero-action drama. Over the weekend, the 84-minute “Inhumans” feature earned an estimated $2.6 million across 676 IMAX screens worldwide, including $1.5 million via 393 IMAX screens in North America. That tally is relatively modest. But given that the holiday weekend saw no new wide U.S. releases from studios and capped an abysmal summer at the box office, IMAX is getting credit for taking a swing.

“My hat was off to any distributor that released something at least new and innovative and different on this very slow Labor Day weekend,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at ComScore. “At least IMAX looked at the marketplace, saw an opportunity and did [something] for the fans. To me, that’s a winning strategy.”

Marvel, ABC, and IMAX announced the greenlight for “Inhumans” last November as a joint production that would see IMAX share costs with the Disney division, then premiere the first two episodes exclusively ahead of the show’s fall premiere on ABC. (The episodes air back-to-back Sept. 29 on ABC with several minutes of additional footage not seen in the IMAX feature included.)

Such crossovers between television and theatrical film are rare. When the “Game of Thrones” season four finale screened in IMAX theaters over Super Bowl weekend in 2015, it drew $1.4 million in the U.S. — a shade less than the “Inhumans” premiere.

Thanks to the investment from IMAX, Disney divisions Marvel and ABC consider the show effectively paid for, regardless of its performance on broadcast, where it will air on Friday nights. But the trailers for series and clips screened this summer at Comic-Con have fueled negative early buzz for the series.

Speaking at the Television Critics Association press tour in August, ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey warned reporters that the premiere episode that had been made available for them to view was not a complete project. “I think that the episode that you guys have seen is still a bit of a work in progress,” Dungey said. “We are still a month away from final air, but I do feel like there’s great opportunity there as well.”

ABC sources tell Variety that concerns over quality of “Inhumans” episodes — both the special effects of early cuts and the underpinning scripts — were a source of contention between ABC and Marvel. The IMAX box-office numbers will do little to reverse that narrative, and could dissuade future such hybrid strategies.

“The fact that they really didn’t do that well for IMAX doesn’t bode well for other networks copying this strategy and also whether the show will be successful,” said veteran media analyst Brad Adgate.

 

 

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • Prodigal-Son

    TV Review: 'Prodigal Son'

    Darkness on network TV can feel a bit by-the-book; in order to impress us with how edgy they’re able to be within stricter boundaries than cable and streaming, dramas lard on violence and evil that can feel a bit unmotivated. Which is why “Prodigal Son,” a new Fox drama, is in its first three episodes [...]

  • Charlie Rose Sexual Harassment

    Charlie Rose Sued for Sexual Harassment by Longtime Makeup Artist

    A makeup artist who worked for Charlie Rose for 22 years has filed a sexual harassment lawsuit, accusing the former CBS and PBS host of years of unlawful behavior toward female employees. Gina Riggi alleges that Rose was verbally abusive with her and would often make derogatory comments about her weight. She also alleges that [...]

  • Actress Catherine Oxenberg, left, with Stanley

    Catherine Oxenberg on Dramatizing Her Life Story for 'Escaping the NXIVM Cult'

    For seven years, Catherine Oxenberg says, individuals within the NXIVM organization groomed her daughter India and made her believe in their group as one of empowerment, despite many of their practices being abusive towards women. Now, those years have been condensed into a 90-minute dramatization of Oxenberg’s story for Lifetime, entitled “Escaping the NXIVM Cult: [...]

  • Suzanne Whang Obit

    'House Hunters' Star Suzanne Whang Dies at 56

    Suzanne Whang, best known for her nine-year hosting and narrating stint on HGTV’s “House Hunters,” died Tuesday after a 13-year battle with breast cancer. She was 56. Whang’s partner Jeff Vezain shared the news on Facebook Thursday, writing that “she confronted cancer with courage, humor, determination and optimism.” “She was immensely encouraged by the love [...]

  • Ronen Rubinstein, Sierra McClain Join ‘9-1-1:

    Ronen Rubinstein, Sierra McClain Join ‘9-1-1’ Spinoff at Fox

    Fox’s “9-1-1” spinoff has added two more series regulars to its cast. Ronen Rubinstein and Sierra McClain have joined previously announced cast members Rob Lowe, Liv Tyler and Jim Parrack, Variety has learned. The new entry to the budding “9-1-1” franchise follows a sophisticated New York fireman (Lowe) who, along with his son, re-locates to Austin, [...]

  • Mr Robot BTS

    How 'Mr. Robot' Launched Its Creator and Star to New Heights

    “Mr. Robot” may be synonymous with helping USA redefine its long-touted “blue-skies” strategy into its current “we the bold” motto, but the series was also career-defining for those involved — particularly creator Sam Esmail and actor Rami Malek. Malek’s resume included a few key credits including HBO’s “The Pacific” and “Short Term 12” before taking [...]

  • AMERICAN IDOL - "119 (Grand Finale)"

    Ryan Seacrest to Return for 'American Idol' Season 3 on ABC

    Ryan Seacrest will return as the host of “American Idol” for the music competition’s third season on ABC. Seacrest will also continue hosting and executive producing “On Air with Ryan Seacrest,” his nationally syndicated L.A. morning drive-time radio show. He also serves as co-host and executive producer on ABC’s “Live with Kelly and Ryan,” as [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content