When Marvel yanked Inhumans off its upcoming film release schedule, it pulled off an unusual move: It turned the film into an eight-episode television series, and debuted the first two episodes in IMAX theaters for several weeks before their TV premiere.

It was just about unpredecented — and it doesn’t look like it’s going to be, uh, precedented again anytime soon. Deadline reports that IMAX is reassessing things in light of Inhumans performance in theaters. The movie only grossed $3.5 million according to Deadline (Box Office Mojo has an even lower number; just $2.8 million worldwide) which is very disappointing, particularly for a unique premiere of a property set inside the Marvel Cinematic Universe, one of the hottest properties in all of Hollywood.

Deadline quotes IMAX CEO Rich Gelfond saying the fault in Inhumans’ struggle lies in a “misalignment of customer expectations,” and that...

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.

IMAX actually co-produced Inhumans with Marvel as part of their deal to distribute the pilot in its theaters. Its failure could have a lot to do with the fact that the show was, according to most critics and audiences, not very good. A better show may have fared better in theaters. (Inhumans, about the inner workings of a family of ancient, super-powered beings, also doesn’t have the same name recognition as characters like The Avengers or Captain America, or even Daredevil.)

But the basic business model might be an issue here as well. It’s a big ask to make people pay (and IMAX tickets ain’t cheap either) to see something a couple days early, when they could just be patient and see it for free on broadcast television. Maybe I’m being small-minded here, but I feel like television shows mostly belong on television, particularly if they don’t have the kind of epic scope and visuals that people expect from a big blockbuster movie.

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