Rap tie-in looks to build rapt auds

Pic's ensemble cast led by T.I.

The majors have a spotty record when it comes to targeting urban auds, but Warner Bros. will have another go when it rolls out “ATL” on about 1,500 screens on March 31.

This time, however, it will have a partner in Atlantic Records and rapper T.I., who has been promoting the film since mid-February.

T.I. (Tip Harris) leads the ensemble cast, and his next album, “King,” will be released three days before the pic hits theaters. There is no “ATL” soundtrack; all of Atlantic’s promos aim to tie “King” to “ATL.”

Warners is relying heavily on his appeal in plugging the pic, which concerns four high school grads trying to figure out what to do with the rest of their lives.

First promo for the album and pic is a BET special airing March 27. T.I.’s video for “What You Know” chronicles the rapper attending the premiere of “ATL”; the video for “Ride Wit Me” includes clips from the pic. And since T.I.’s last album sold more than 1 million ringtones, Sprint has hopes he’ll repeat the feat. It’s made him artist of the month for an April promotion.

Warners knows it’s not entirely on safe ground with “ATL,” but niche pics can be a boon since they don’t cost much.

“ATL” is also the first hip-hop-related pic to be released since Three 6 Mafia won the Oscar for song for “Hustle & Flow.” There may be a curiosity factor working in its favor.