‘Inhumans’ May Have Strained the Relationship Between Marvel and ABC
Early returns for Marvel’s IMAX Inhumans were predictably paltry, based on poor word-of-mouth from early reviews and a holiday lag overall. A new breakdown of the Marvel-ABC drama’s performance suggests not only could future TV IMAX projects become scarce, but that the two Disney divisions were “contentious” over the final product.
This past weekend saw Marvel’s The Inhumans released in IMAX screens everywhere, with an aim to run for two weeks before the full two-hour premiere debuts on ABC Friday, September 29. According to Variety, the experiment pulled in about $2.6 million from 676 IMAX screens across the globe, and “Disney divisions Marvel and ABC consider the show effectively paid for” with the IMAX investment, regardless of future ratings.
All the same, media analyst Brad Adgate suggests that neither Inhumans itself, nor other networks looking into IMAX ventures are likely to have strong futures. As Variety puts it, Inhumans may have tugged on the relationship between Marvel and ABC overall:
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 hybrids strategies.
The relationship between Marvel and ABC hasn’t proven as fruitful in recent years, with Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. diminishing in ratings over time, and Agent Carter getting the axe after two seasons. Other Marvel projects have ventured outside of ABC, including the various Netflix series and the upcoming Runaways at Hulu.
Poor reception has to fall on showrunner Scott Buck as well, given similarly-negative assessments of Marvel’s Iron Fist, so might The Inhumans be one-and-done for the MCU?