Comic book fans knew something was up as soon as that first trailer dropped. Despite all the touting from Marvel and IMAX that Inhumans was breaking new grounds as a series shot on IMAX digital FOR IMAX, the series itself looked no better than your average mid-budget network TV show.
Heck, given the amount of effects that were needed and the how otherworldly the characters were supposed to be, the chinks in the budgetary armor were wholly visible for all to see. And not only was the budget bad, but the story was embarrassing.
So who’s the culprit here? IMAX CEO Rich Gelfond is blaming customer expectations:
“Customers expected a production akin to a mega-budget blockbuster movie, rather than pilots for a television show. 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.”
We could not disagree more. Throughout the early marketing of Inhumans, Disney Media Networks and Disney|ABC Television Group touted how unprecedented and bold this was for the medium, and that they were spearheading new ways to launch great TV.
You can’t tout amazing IMAX visuals and then phone in on the actual visuals. What’s the point of shooting IMAX if the visuals look like garbage? Rather than expect audiences to re-align their expectations, they really should have upped to budget and efforts to series to cable and streaming-quality. That would have made for an interesting watch.
So what does this mean for IMAX going forward?
“Going forward, we intend to take a more conservative approach consistent with the Game of Thrones approach to capital investments and content. We will be more conservative when considering whether to invest our own capital; and if so, to what extent.”
This is a shame, because had they done this same deal a couple years back with, say, Daredevil, it would have been a runaway success. No, IMAX, this is not our fault, this is your fault, and this is Marvel’s fault. You can’t create a cheap product and then blame the package it’s in. Now, thanks to a terrible show getting an amazing IMAX treatment, they’re no longer taking risks on potentially good shows.
This is what we call stupid Hollywood thinking, folks. It’s when companies infer the most simplistic and lazy conclusions. The correct and less lazy conclusion here would be “the show is bad, and we’ll work harder to make sure when we get a show on IMAX, that it’s not bad,” but that would be laying the blame on thick, wouldn’t it?
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