Kanye West’s short-length IMAX film Jesus is King brought in healthy weekend box office receipts.
Limited-run, in-theater artist films are sometimes profitable, but overall a small niche for artists and the music industry. But don’t tell that to Kanye West: over the weekend, West’s ultra-religious IMAX mini-movie, Jesus Is King: A Kanye West Film, crushed it at the box office. According to IMAX Entertainment, receipts have already topped $1.04 million across 21 different markets — after roughly 48 hours.
According to IMAX, the film generated $862,000 from a total of 372 North American IMAX theaters, plus an additional $175,000 from 68 international theaters across 12 markets. The quick revenue-rake was undoubtedly spurred by Kanye’s outsized and controversial personality, as well as a heavy media blitz that included stops like Jimmy Kimmel Live! and a dedicated interview with Apple Music’s Zane Lowe.
Alongside the film, Kanye West released his latest album, also titled Jesus Is King, which seems to be performing solidly. In terms of music included in the film, Jesus Is King features a total of 13 songs, a mixture of both Kanye tracks and gospel standards.
Throughout, West has been emphasizing his born again Christian status.
According to IMAX, the release is potentially part of a new strategy that goes beyond bigger blockbusters.
Exactly how that translates into potential projects for other artists is unclear however, given the sheer high-wattage celebrity power that Kanye West delivers.
That obviously delivered for IMAX, and potentially opens the door for other superstar artists to complement major releases with in-theater ‘larger than life’ projects.
Of course, Kanye West is a masterful media manipulator, all of which is translating into heavy revenues. West’s recent interview with Apple Music’s Zane Lowe veered wildly and was oftentimes incomprehensible; the rapper’s earlier outbursts have included claims that slavery was ‘a choice,’ an over-the-top man-crush on Donald Trump, and the expensive construction of Star Wars-inspired domes for homeless people (that were ultimately ripped down by municipal officials).