As many would argue, there are few things that one could do to make Game of Thrones a better series. But that doesn’t mean one’s experience watching the show cannot be topped in some way, and the recent teaming between Warner Bros., HBO and IMAX is definite proof of that. This past weekend saw the epic fantasy series debut on humongous screens around the country, and its success was as big as the Mountain’s skull.
Game of Thrones has taken in over $1.5 million from its IMAX run, bringing in an average of $7,323 from each of the 205 screens that played it. That average is right on par with a non-tentpole film’s opening weekend – it would have been around $21 million had it opened on 3,000 screens – and it was the #15 release of the weekend, sandwiched between Birdman and Mortdecai. (The latter of which took in a dismal average of $538 from 2,648 theaters.)
In and of themselves, the numbers aren’t suggestive of anyone getting rich off of this experiment. But what they do is give an ample amount of confidence to studio heads who might not have considered bringing large-scale series to larger-scale screens. And you bet your ass more are coming – like these, hopefully – and Warner Bros. distribution EVP Jeff Goldstein says they “see this as a future, and not just with HBO.” In case you thought IMAX might be hesitant to get into this kind of thing, don’t worry. Here’s what IMAX CEO Greg Foster had to say, according to Deadline.
Game of Thrones was a lab experiment in IMAX that we’ll continue to fine tune from what we learned. Our goal is to provide compelling content for our exhibitor partners 52 weeks out of the year.
The IMAX presentation consisted of the final two episodes from Game of Thrones Season 4, along with the very first Season 5 trailer. As you can imagine, both were received well by everyone, especially for the magnificent remastered conversions. The numbers showed that theaters in the bigger cities did better than those in suburban areas, so that’ll be something they keep in mind in the future.
I think if Game of Thrones was released as a series of semaphore messages or Lite-Brite screens, it would still draw huge numbers. The show just attracts huge crowds in whatever capacity it’s delivered. I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if this initial success drives HBO and Warner Bros. to get the Season 5 premiere remastered for an IMAX release to coincide with the HBO debut on April 12 (as well as the release of the network’s standalone service). It doesn’t take a three-eyed raven to make it clear how good of an idea that would be.