‘When I was a kid, people knew IMAX as the giant screens you would see at the new science museums to showcase cool, short documentaries about space or nature. These days, they’re known more as the place to go see the latest superhero movie – or, if you prefer, the latest Christopher Nolan
film. Simon Thompson spoke
with the CEO of IMAX, Greg Foster, about the next evolution:
Thompson: Marvel’s 'Inhumans’ is not the first TV show to be shown in IMAX, 'Game of Thrones’ has done that. Did those event screenings influence this project at all?
Foster: Oh, it heavily influenced it. 'Game of Thrones’ played in IMAX, Super Bowl Sunday weekend two years ago, with two episodes that were strung together that were six months old, that had already played on HBO and were available to be screened six months previous so, very few people who were fans of 'Game of Thrones’ hadn’t seen it yet. We attached about three minutes of footage from season five to it. We announced it first, we announced it for 100 of our screens, no international at all and only a hundred in North America and our website crashed. Then about two weeks later, we announced that we were adding another hundred, our website crashed again. As much as we love this partnership, and we do, we know that we’re not only gonna do, in perpetuity, Marvel shows, and I will tell you that as exciting as this is, and Marvel has for all intents and purposes, a first option with what we do, because they’re pioneering with us. When 'Game of Thrones’ was announced and after it happened, a lot of people came to us and say, “We want to do this.” I don’t have to name the broadcast networks or the streaming companies, you know who they are. all of the biggest ones. We had an opportunity to do something that we were pretty far along with, about six months before this project, and we elected not to. The reason we elected not to, is we didn’t think it had the pre-existing relationship, and it didn’t have the sexiness of what a Marvel property does. So, we waited and this happened. So, 'Game of Thrones’ heavily influenced it, but the business model has gotten better for this, and the opportunity to really propel the show, I think has gotten better, because we’re not repurposing old content.
I actually think this is pretty interesting and it speaks directly to a back-and-forth Charles Forman and I had on Twitter
the other day. He noted
that if they simply screened GoT
a day early in theaters, all sides would make a ton of money. Undoubtedly true! Even if they played them night-of (the shows airing on HBO), or even, as in above, months after
they aired. People love Game of Thrones
. People love getting together to watch Game of Thrones
. People would pay extra to do this on a massive screen – again, IMAX already proved this.
Now they need to prove people will do this for other content (beyond, again, feature films). Inhumans is a smart test given the Marvel DNA, but it would seem there is a lot of low-hanging fruit here. Westworld. The Walking Dead. Etc. I don’t think you do it for every episode, but for premieres and finales (well, okay, you undoubtedly could for every GoT episode).
This could help many theaters in many communities (IMAX would just be bigger, and better, and could probably charge more). All of these guys
have the same issue
though: Hollywood simply isn’t releasing movies worth seeing 52 weeks a year anymore (not that they ever were, but there are so many more choices – and so many more choices at home
– these days).
I’d absolutely experiment here. And with sports! And other verticals! (Theater is advertised non-stop in the UK.) There’s something here…