Doctor Strange Director Didn't Intend for Marvel Movie to Have IMAX Home Viewing

By Lauren Rouse Updated:
Doctor Strange , Scott Derrickson, Disney Plus

Fans around the world are celebrating Disney+ Day with a plethora of new releases hitting the streaming platform.

The service's second anniversary brought with it a bunch of new announcements about Marvel projects as well as the streaming release of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. Adding to the celebrations, Disney+ debuted the IMAX versions of 13 MCU movies, allowing users to choose the expanded viewing option for streaming at home.

Plenty of Marvel directors have chosen to use IMAX ratios for their films, which has often resulted in an enhanced cinematic experience in theaters. This marks the first time that the IMAX option has been available for these films on streaming, but it seems not everyone is happy about it.

Marvel Director Reacts To Disney+ IMAX Release

Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson has Tweeted his thoughts about the "IMAX Enhanced" streaming release of his film on Disney+, saying it was something he "never intended".

"Apparently Disney+ has elected to stream at least some Marvel movies (including Doctor Strange) in the 1.9 IMAX aspect ratio instead of 2:39. I can only speak for myself, but I never intended that aspect ratio to be used for home viewing."

As can be seen in the image below, the difference between the 1.9 IMAX aspect ratio and 2:39 widescreen version makes quite a difference.

Doctor Strange IMAX ratio

Derrickson went on to say in further Tweets that he chose specific scenes to be used in the IMAX ratio and framed them in both 1.9 and 2.39 which is what Disney+ is using to toggle between aspect ratios.

Another user pointed out that Disney+ gives viewers the option to choose between widescreen or IMAX versions.

Doctor Strange IMAX Disney+ options

Derrickson acknowledged this distinction was important but maintained he never intended for the 1.9 IMAX version to be seen on TV:

"This is important - apparently Disney+ provides the 1.9 as an option, and I've also been told that option exists on the Blu-ray. This certainly makes this less problematic, but I still maintain that I never intended anyone to see the 1.9 version on tv."

Derrickson later clarified that he's not bothered by the IMAX home viewing option, stating that it's up to the fans to decide what version of the movie they prefer to watch:

To be clear I didn’t express disapproval, nor am I bothered that gives viewer the option to view the 1.9 aspect ratio. I only said I didn’t intend the 1.9 for home viewing. If people want to watch it that way that’s up to them."

Should Marvel Movies Be Shown In IMAX On Disney+?

While the IMAX versions of Marvel's films undoubtedly make for a superior viewing experience it seems like the directors of these films weren't consulted before the new aspect ratio was made available on Disney+.

This IMAX deal is quite a unique occasion and makes Disney+ the first major streaming service to offer the 1.9 aspect ratio for viewing at home. It seems Derrickson's argument is that the cinematic experience of IMAX is lost when translating this to home televisions and this isn't what he intended for viewers to see when watching Doctor Strange.

Some Marvel directors, like the Russo brothers, welcomed this new IMAX format for streaming, but it appears Disney didn't consult with all the directors before launching the new aspect ratio. It's still a win for viewers wanting the IMAX experience at home, but it's a loss for the filmmakers who spent time carefully crafting their film for a specific vision only to have it changed for streaming. 

Should more streaming services adopt the IMAX aspect ratio for films in the future, it won't be the last time we see this debate.

- About The Author: Lauren Rouse
Lauren Rouse has been a writer at The Direct since the site launched in 2020. She has a huge passion for everything pop culture and currently writes news articles for the Marvel, Star Wars, DC and video game branches.