WOW: IMAX Has Told Disney Something That Will Totally Ruin The Mouse….

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For better and for worse, the Walt Disney Company probably couldn’t have imagined just how this “Marvel Cinematic Universe” would turn out when it began in 2008 with “Iron Man.”

For better, it has been an unmitigated financial success spanning across three different decades (the 2000s, the 2010s and the 2020s) and 32 movies (not counting television projects), and selling untold billions in movie tickets, licensing rights, toys, video games, etc.

Love them or hate them, that’s impressive. It’s even more impressive when you consider that Iron Man was a decidedly C or B-tier hero before that seminal 2008 flick, so it was never a guarantee that the MCU would be birthed from that movie (MCU wasn’t even a concept then.)

For worse, fast forward 15 years later, and despite all that financial success and clout that its generated, the beleaguered Disney’s blockbusters are apparently now “backup” films, and having one to show in case another movie gets pulled is “not the worst position to be in the world.”

Those less-than-glowing remarks came from IMAX CEO Richard Gelfond, according to a transcript of the Wednesday earnings call that is available online, and cited by The Independent.

Gelfond was speaking about the upcoming Disney/Marvel movie “The Marvels” and how “we can’t play it because we are committed to” the sequel to the blockbuster sci-fi epic, “Dune.” “The Marvels” is slated to release Nov. 10, and “Dune: Part Two” comes out just a week earlier on the 3rd.

Instead of splitting the large IMAX theaters (and the extra revenue that comes from those more expensive tickets), it appears “Dune: Part Two” will get all the attention at IMAX.

The IMAX CEO called the female-led “Marvels” movie as “great,” but added that “Dune 2” would have to be delayed or moved and only then would the IMAX theaters “go over to” the Disney film.

And Gelfond doesn’t expect “Dune: Part Two” to be delayed.

“[M]y own opinion, is that [Dune 2 is] highly unlikely to move,” Gelfond added, before calling his statement “an educated opinion.”

“The Marvels,” meanwhile, have been relegated to Plan B for IMAX.

“[H]aving a Marvel movie as a backup is not the worst position to be in the world,” Gelfond said, in perhaps his most stinging of backhanded compliments.

Being one of two major Marvel projects on the immediate horizon (the other being season 2 of “Loki,” which comes out in October), Disney and Marvel desperately need a win on their hands after just a disastrous stretch of business that has led to mass layoffs at the House of Mouse.

In just recent memory alone, here are some notable losses that Disney has taken:

  • Disney’s latest rehash of an older movie, “Haunted Mansion,” is receiving ghastly reviews and no mainstream traction.
  • Disney’s ballyhooed “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” has been a catastrophic box office flop.
  • Disney and Pixar’s “Elemental” came in under its already woefully low expectations.
  • Disney spent $53 million on “Crater,” only to see interest in it crater so badly, the show was removed from its streaming platform to save on licensing deals.

And no, the parks are not doing much better for Disney. In fact, pretty much the only movie Disney has produced recently that has done anything of note is “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” — which was directed by James Gunn, the man now in charge of Disney’s chief box office rival when it comes to capes, DC.

Disney could really use a box office, if not also critical, success right now, and losing that all-important additional IMAX revenue (while being so brazenly relegated to the B-team) is not going to help matters.

Given the general lack of interest in “The Marvels,” Disney is genuinely facing an uphill, and possibly existential, crisis in 2023 and beyond.


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