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The Marvel films with the Imax feature will include Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, which makes its Disney+ streaming debut on Nov. 12, as well as Iron Man, Guardians of the Galaxy, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Captain America: Civil War, Doctor Strange, Thor: Ragnarok, Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, Ant-Man and the Wasp, Captain Marvel, Avengers: Endgame and Black Widow.
Imax CEO Rich Gelfond tells The Hollywood Reporter that conversations with Disney began about a year ago to bring Imax into the Disney+ viewing experience as the streamer looks for ways to differentiate itself from the competition.
“It was really spurred on by the filmmakers and the fans, and particularly the Marvel team,” Gelfond says. “The Disney+ team really wanted to see what they could add to their service that would help them compete not just on a content point of view, but actually the way you’re watching it point of view.”
The partnership between Imax and Disney is not exclusive, so the success of the expanded ratio on Disney+ could spur other streamers to add the feature on their own platforms. As of now, there are no immediate plans to offer the Imax feature on other films on Disney+ or across the company’s other streaming platforms like Hulu and Star, according to a Disney executive, but Disney will be monitoring reactions on social media and user behavior to determine the success of the rollout.
But as Hollywood continues to debate the future of moviegoing in theaters versus at home, Gelfond says he believes the feature on Disney+ could actually encourage users who enjoy the Imax experience to go to the theaters for the real deal.
“We obviously thought about that issue,” Gelfond says of whether an improved streaming experience at home would discourage audiences from heading to theaters. “But unless you’re one of the richest people in the world, you don’t have an Imax theater in your home. Your TV, by an order of magnitude, is a fraction of what that would be, so as good as the experience is going to be on Disney+ — and I think it’ll be very good — I still think it’s so different than what you get in an Imax theater.
“If anything,” Gelfond added, “I think it’ll help educate consumers about what the differences are in Imax and why they should go to the theaters.”
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