Why IMAX Was Late to Booking the ‘It’ Movie

To company’s credit, they pivoted from “Inhumans” pretty quickly

pennywise it movie james mcavoy battle

IMAX nearly missed out on the whole “It” cash cow.

The huge-screen theater experience company didn’t initially have the Stephen King adaptation prominently on its radar, company CEO Rich Gelfond said Wednesday at Goldman Sachs Communicopia. Then again, no one really did. Thankfully, Gelfond’s team — and his new technology — were pretty quick to pivot to the surprise blockbuster, which has already hauled in $132 million domestically, per Box Office Mojo.

On IMAX screens alone, “It” has made $10 million, the company told TheWrap, which is a record for both a September release and a horror movie in the unique format. Nice work, Rich.

“‘It’ was getting a lot of positive buzz — not this positive,” Gelfond said Wednesday morning. “In fact, I think people thought it would open to about $70 million. So everybody was surprised by about 100 percent by what the results were.”

“We were playing a September fill-in that we had helped create, which was the first two episodes of Marvel’s ‘Inhumans,’ an ABC series,” he said of the unique TV series debut. “[‘Inhumans’] did fine in its first weekend, [making] two-and-a-half million dollars.”

“But when you saw a train like that coming down the tracks in ‘It,’ it made a lot of sense to regroup,” Gelfond continued. “And we did that with very little marketing and very little time to get in it. We made very nice revenues.”

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Fortunately, IMAX recently upgraded to an automated DMR, which is how they convert regular films to IMAX films, as well as distribution process. They’re in the beginning stages of digital, which means no need to ship out physical copies to thousands of theaters when something like “It” explodes.

“We can react very quickly,” Gelfond said. Clearly.

IMAX continues to make more than a few nickels off of Pennywise. “It,” which cost $35 million to make, will cross the $200 million worldwide box office mark any minute now.