IMAX Ditches "Justice League" in Favor of Re-runs of "Dunkirk" and "The Polar Express"

Labels: , ,

Whatever hopes you had for "Justice League" being a huge success, I would put those desires on hold for a very, very long time as the movie is more than a certified flop at this point.  It went on to break records for the lowest grossing release of the entire DC Extended Universe.  The movies as they stand are currently dead and there is virtually no hope of the thing being salvaged at this point.  "Justice League" is going to do to superhero movies at Warner Bros. what "Batman & Robin" did for that franchise: Stop it dead in its tracks while the studio takes a break from it and reevaluates what to do ten years down the road.  I know this isn't how people wanted things to turn out.  Fans wanted a good movie.  The studio wanted a profitable franchise.  IMAX wanted a movie with enough legs that it could carry through the holiday season until "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" dropped.

In short, everyone got screwed here, and there are no winners, only losers.

While there have been countless articles highlighting the failures of the movie, we're going to focus on the fact that IMAX got stuck with a movie that didn't sell tickets.  Most of the theaters were played to empty screenings.  There is no possible way the company can hope to keep this around for three more weeks.  So, many theaters will be getting rid of it.  Theaters that are equipped to show 70mm movies will (ironically) be bringing Christopher Nolan's "Dunkirk" for an undetermined amount of time.  Many IMAX's will be going back to 2004 and reviving "The Polar Express" for the holidays (easily one of 3D's biggest cinema success stories).  While there has been no announcement, don't be surprised if "Thor: Ragnorok" makes a surprise come back as well.  This, just goes to show, not to put too many eggs in one basket, because the basket may break and crack your eggs.

Now, I'm typing this story for two reasons.  The first is that it is always nice to see "The Polar Express" return to IMAX 3D.  I've seen this movie on the really big screen almost every year for the last decade and a half, and I even have watched the BluRay 3D a few times.  Despite "Avatar" getting all the credit, it was really "The Polar Express" which showed how good and successful 3D films could be, as the film opened to low box office, only to have IMAX 3D showings being sold out on a daily basis.  The other reason I'm reporting on this is because this is another spectacular failure for IMAX in their '2D only' policy, and if it hasn't been made clear yet that scrapping the 3D doesn't result in more ticket sales yet, then I honestly don't know what will.  Now, I have to stress again that the 3D version wasn't a whole lot better this time around, and I have heard rumblings that Joss Whedon simply felt the 2D version was better (for whatever THAT'S worth to the fans...).

Also, this movie didn't make money in either format, so it's not like having the 3D would have resulted in more ticket sales either.  The point (again) is that IMAX saw sagging ticket sales, looked at "Dunkirk's" success, and deemed that it was probably because the movie was in 2D that it did so well (completely ignoring the 3D successes of "Beauty & the Beast," "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2," and "Spider-Man: Homecoming").  "Dunkirk" did well in IMAX because it was shot with 70mm IMAX cameras and was a good movie.  Nothing more, nothing less.  I took personal issue with IMAX throwing 3D under the bus when they had 3D movies that were actually bigger successes than "Dunkirk."  "Justice League" did not sell tickets even though it was only showing in 2D.  Heck, the only way it might have done well is if it was an excellent movie (although...).  Truthfully, I think IMAX should take a hard look at what they are replacing it with: Movies that take full advantage of the giant screen and the formats with which they were filmed in.

In the new year I will begin a series of articles about what IMAX's strengths were, how they lost sight of their ultimate goal, what their problems are, and what they can do to fix them going forward.  In the meantime...I'm going to enjoy taking my niece to see "The Polar Express" for the first time!


Post a Comment