When Marvel's Inhumans debuts in September, it will go where no television show has gone before -- to the movie theater. Inhumans will premiere two episodes on IMAX screens across the nation and then air a full season on ABC. At Comic-Con International, IMAX CEO Greg Foster and Inhumans Director Roel Reine spoke to the press about Marvel Televisions' new partnership with IMAX, and why the series lends it self to an IMAX-sized screen premiere.
"When I had the first meeting at Marvel we were talking about IMAX and I was so excited about it," Reine said. "I was talking about how I would use the camera and what I would do and how it would looks, all this great kind of stuff. I was completely hooked when I heard it was IMAX." Asked if he shot the episode on IMAX cameras, which typically have much wider lenses that most film cameras, he answered, "Yes, we shot on IMAX cameras, on digital IMAX cameras. I always had the notice that IMAX camera are like refrigerators -- that’s what you see when Chris Nolan carries them around -- so I was nervous about that. Then they told me, ‘No, it’s a digital camera, brand new,’ so I said, ‘Let me take a look at that.’ They arranged for me a day to play with them and I remember that it was all on a tripod and everyone was nervous. The first thing I did was take it off the tripod, throw it around, put it in my car -- I wanted to see how practical it was to shot guerrilla style with an IMAX camera. The only thing that I said to IMAX was that the lenses were not wide enough, so they built a special lens for me, for the show."
"What we’re trying to do is create something that isn’t stagnant," Foster added, "that shows big scope IMAX, and I believe that is what Roel has successfully done. To have a filmmaker who is also at heart a cinematographer, first and foremost, was great. He was the perfect person to have this for the first time... The purpose of it from our point of view is that we need film making to be nimble. Chris Nolan uses the film camera and he’s an absolute master at it. But the new technology of the digital IMAX camera is something that becomes a little bit more user-friendly for a wider net of people and shows, and this had to be nimble."
Asked about the IMAX business model and why a company known for showing superhero films in theaters would scale down for television, Foster responded, "For IMAX, we are a theatrical presentation and experience. We always have been and we always will be. There’s plenty of room for both. The strategy behind this is, we’re doing it not coincidentally on September 1, when tent pole, Hollywood movies simply aren’t released. Releasing it at that time period to keep our movies going on a 52 week schedule, with Marvel, where IMAX has a long relationship, and with a film maker like Roel, who really knows how to get the scope, is to remind people that we’re not only for the $200 million dollar Batman movies -- not every movie can be made by Chris Nolan -- as much as we would love that. We are a 52-week operation and this is a great way to fill in those gaps. The hope is, it will soon become not a gap -- it’s the kind of programming we hope to have all year."
Inhumans showrunner Scott Buck said that IMAX was taken into consideration across the board who filming the show's first two episodes. "When you’re visualizing television, you’re forced to think in a confined element. In creating this show, you have to do just the opposite and think as big as you possibly can. The art director needs to know what you have in mind, the director needs to know what you have in mind, and you have to give them the freedom and the push to think as big as possible."
Ellen Wogwom, who plays Louise in the series, added that upscaling the series for IMAX worked especially well because of the show's location. "Shooting in Hawaii was so perfect because the landscape there is so dramatic, it is so big, it is so inspiring and beautiful and drastic. Everything from the art department to set design to even the location really fits the scope of IMAX."
"This is a new hybrid of cinematic television and IMAX," Foster concluded. "I think -- when you look at the first two episodes -- I think the quality of it speaks for itself."
Marvel's Inhumans premieres first on IMAX September 1 and then again on ABC September 29.