In yet another crippling blow to Marvel’s struggling cinematic universe, IMAX has confirmed that barring any further delays to either film, The Marvels will not be played on any of the company’s high-resolution projectors due to a previous screening commitment made to Warner Bros. Discovery’s Dune: Part Two.
Word of IMAX’s allegiance to Arrakis over the Kree was first made public on July 26th during the company’s Q2 2023 Earnings Call.
Referencing a recent report from Variety which claimed that WBD may seek to push Dune: Part Two from its current November 3rd release date due to the currently ongoing WGA Writer’s Strike, Wells Fargo Securities analyst Omar Mejias inquired with IMAX CEO Richard Gelfond, “What’s the likelihood of this happening? And if so, what other options are you considering for the replacement for the Dune slot?”
In turn, Gelfond asserted, “There’s another great movie coming out around in time, which is The Marvels from Marvel, and we can’t play it because we are committed to Dune.””So, Dune moves, [that slot] will just go over to The Marvels, and having a Marvel movie as a backup is not the worst position to be in the world,” he explained. “But in terms of Dune, my own opinion is that it’s highly unlikely to move, and it’s an educated opinion, meaning I spent a lot of time on the facts.”
Continuing in his attempt to reassure Mejias and the others in attendance that a further delay was not in the cards for Dune: Part Two, Gelfond recalled, “Dune is already in the midst of a marketing campaign. There are trailers out. There’s lots of materials out. They had a big presentation, a lot of the conferences. As a matter of fact, Denis Villeneuve presented [the film] at the IMAX CEO Forum. So, it’s kind of out of the gate. So, if you put it back in the gate, you’ve got to duplicate those expenses at some time in the future of putting it out of the gate.”
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“In addition, Dune has a very long run time in IMAX, up to five or six weeks,” the CEO then revealed. “And it just was fortuitous that there were no other conflicting projects. But if [WBD] were to move that to next year and some time, it’s highly unlikely that [Dune] would have that amount of run time.”
“And just to remind you, IMAX was about 20% of the growth on Dune: Part One,” he continued. “And I know there’s a lot of marketing plan on Dune: Part Two. If they move Dune: Part Two, there’s a carrying cost, call it 10% or whatever it is. So, how are they going to make up for that cost across the other incremental costs? The IMAX release is a really important element to their release pattern.”
“So, when I look at it from [WBD’s] point of view, from a dollars and cents numbers perspective, it just doesn’t make any sense to me that they would move it,” Gelfond then opined. “The only reason they would move it is they’d say, ‘The actors strike is going on’, and they want to get a premier and put it on the Tonight Show or whereever they put the actors, but with no disrespect to [Paul Atreides actor] Timothee Chalamet.”
Raising a series of hypotheticals, the CEO proceeded to explain, “Are you going to be able to make up for losing the six-week IMAX release? Are you going to be made up the cost of capital and carrying it for a year? Are you going to move it to an uncertain year when you have no idea what’s going to be put against you when they have virtually no competition right now in the marketplace? It doesn’t really make any sense.”
“When you look at the other movies, I think that’s one of the most compelling not to move,” Gelfond said of Dune: Part Two. “But you could go through all of them and the same logic kind of applies.”
Ultimately, the executive confirmed to Mejias, “I’ve talked to the distributor that Warner Brothers, they don’t know where that article can go in the press. They’ve certainly told me that that article is not true. So, all I can do is give you my logical perspective on it, but I feel quite strongly that it’s not going to move.”
As noted above, The Marvels‘ only hopes of receiving any IMAX screening rested on Dune: Part Two being hit with another delay.
However, in light of Gelfond’s confidence towards Dune’s release date, it seems as if Carol Danvers, Monica Rambeau, and Kamala Khan will be left to drift through space solely on standard theatrical screens.
Both Dune: Part Two and The Marvels are currently set to hit theaters on November 3rd.