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Imax on Tuesday renewed its pitch to get into more TV deals after ABC sends Marvel’s live-action series The Inhumans to bow in its theaters in early September 2017.
“This is at the high end of the range of what we’ll be doing, but we’re already looking for a second [series],” Greg Foster, CEO of Imax Entertainment, told the Credit Suisse Technology, Media & Telecom Conference during a Tuesday session that was webcast. “This is a really exciting opportunity that could blossom into more.”
Imax talked earlier about participating in more TV releases to move beyond its movie distribution niche. On Tuesday, Foster reiterated that diversifying into TV allows the giant-screen exhibitor to hedge against box-office volatility and to show alternative programming during slower periods like the first half of September when the major studios typically do not release tentpole films.
Foster said the first two episodes of The Inhumans, around 80 minutes of content, will debut exclusively in Imax theaters across all territories on or around Sept. 1, ahead of a two-week theatrical run. ABC will then premiere the first episode of the TV drama on Sept. 26. All eight episodes are expected to run on the network over consecutive Tuesdays, barring unforeseen interruptions.
Foster said ABC is looking to tap into Imax’s fanboy following to drive up viewership on its traditional network run. “Hopefully this will spawn more seasons of the show, and opportunistically, we’re looking at other opportunities and programs that we can become part of,” he added.
At the same time, Imax is looking to see whether The Inhumans hits with TV audiences before getting into more small-screen deals. Foster lauded Marvel for its success in the TV game.
But, like the movie business, he cautioned scripted series only work if audiences embrace them. “We are at the mercy … of the marketing of the series and the playability of the series,” Foster said.
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