Imax ready to rock

'Access' to feature perfs by Santana, Sting

Imax Corp. announced Monday it has started production on “All Access,” a giant-screen rock concert film with performances by Carlos Santana, B.B. King, Sting, Macy Gray, Sheryl Crow and Kid Rock.

“All Access,” set for a February 2001 release, will be Imax’s second rock concert film and open a decade after it rolled out “At the Max” with the Rolling Stones.

Initial sequences for “All Access” were shot last week at the Grand Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles in the days surrounding the Grammy Awards. The film’s release, which will also feature Rob Thomas of Matchbox 20, Moby, Roots, Trey Anastasio of Phish and George Clinton, has been targeted to coincide with next year’s Grammys ceremony.

Additional sequences will be shot at performances in the coming months.

Imax has partnered with Ideal Entertainment (“Richie Rich,” “Curious George”) and Warner-Lambert Co. for “All Access,” which has been budgeted in the $5 million to $10 million range. The film will be presented by Warner-Lambert’s Certs brand; Ideal principals Jon and Peter Shapiro will produce.

“In addition to a front-row seat and spectacular larger-than-life performances, the film will provide exactly what the title suggests — a rare ‘All Access’ pass to rehearsals, sound checks, casual conversations, backstage madness and musical collaborations that lie behind the scenes of every great concert but that the average person never gets to see,” the Shapiros said.

Commercial run

Imax co-CEO Bradley J. Wechsler said the release will run 60 to 70 minutes and could go into as many as 100 venues. It will be targeted toward giant-screen theaters at commercial sites rather than the museum-and-science center locations.

“The theater owners we’ve talked to have been very enthusiastic about ‘All Access’ because it meets their needs for nighttime programming,” Wechsler added. ” ‘All Access’ will build on the success of the Walt Disney Co.’s ‘Fantasia/2000: The Imax Experience,’ by continuing to bring new audiences to Imax theaters.

“Fantasia/2000” has grossed $26.8 million at 54 domestic theaters plus $7.4 million overseas since its Jan. 1 release.

Wechsler said the Shapiros first approached Imax about “All Access” a year ago, proposing a “kick-ass” concert film. Imax and Ideal are also developing “American Road,” another music project.

“All Access” will be Imax’s first rock concert film since “At the Max,” the 1991 release shot during the Rolling Stones’ Steel Wheels tour. The 85-minute feature grossed $21.4 million worldwide.

Kevin Skislock, a principal at Laguna Research Partners and a long-time Imax tracker, said “All Access” will need a significant promotional push to succeed. “Fame can be very fleeting in the music business,” he noted. “Aggressive marketing will be in order.”

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