Disney’s TV studios are starting to leverage the media conglomerate’s deep-seated film relationships to develop their own big screen programming.
Disney-owned ABC’s next Marvel TV series will be film quality and premiere in theaters before its broadcast debut, Variety reported yesterday. The first two episodes of the newly ordered Marvel show The Inhumans will be combined and released exclusively in IMAX Theaters for two weeks beginning in September 2017, according to the New York Times. Edited versions of those and additional episodes of the hour-long drama will debut weekly on ABC later in the fall. ABC’s broadcast will reportedly feature scenes that won’t be included in the IMAX version.
The two episodes that are running in IMAX Theaters, which will be produced by Marvel Television in collaboration with ABC Studios like the rest of the series, will be filmed entirely with IMAX cameras. And the theater chain is a financing partner on the full series, which will allow ABC and Marvel to boost the show’s production quality and visual effects, Variety reported.
This is reportedly the first time that IMAX has ever participated in financing a TV series.
The Inhumans project has had its ups and downs. It was on Marvel’s film roster for some time, but was dropped from its upcoming slate in April after the superhuman race that comprise the main characters of the storyline were weaved into Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, another ABC show. Now it’s back. The new version of The Inhumans project reportedly isn’t a SHIELD spinoff, but will focus instead on the Inhumans’ ruler, Black Bolt.
It’s not surprising that Marvel’s first live-action TV show to jump to the big screen is an ABC series rather than a Netflix project. (Netflix committed in 2013 to four TV series plus a mini-series, produced by Marvel Television in conjunction with ABC Studios: Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist, which will lead into a The Defenders mini-series.) Netflix, which recently inked a deal with luxury theater chain iPic to bring its theatrical releases to the silver screen, has shown a penchant for releasing titles online at the same time they premiere in theaters, which bucks the conventional Hollywood exclusivity period for theatrical releases. As such, the streaming-video service is on rocky terms with some major US theater chains.
However, just because ABC and Marvel Television are leveraging the production, marketing, and distribution power of Disney’s theatrical partners doesn’t mean we should expect Marvel’s TV characters to crossover into the films just yet, or vice versa. Marvel’s TV shows and films exist in the same universe and general timeline, but the studios seem to be keeping them separate, for now.