The sign outside an Austin movie theatre showing Jesus is King.

Opening Night for Kanye West’s “Jesus Is King” IMAX Film

By Daniel Richter
Web Content Contributor

The much anticipated Kanye West album, “Jesus Is King, was released on the morning of Friday, Oct. 25 after many weeks of delay. The night before the release was the opening night for Kanye West’s partner project, an IMAX film also called “Jesus Is King,” directed by Nick Knight.

I went to see the film during the first available showtime at 7 p.m. on Oct. 24. My friends and I had no clue what to expect. With a runtime of only 38 minutes, I was ready for a glorified album listening session or even a “Jesus Is King” version of Kanye’s “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” short film that has a similar run length. But for the most part, we were all in the dark and eager with anticipation. 

The Austin IMAX theatre that was showing the film was by no means full. Seating was crowded directly in front of the screen but there were still tons of seats still available for purchase online as the film started. 

The film had no trailers before it started and seemingly began without a warning. 

Now, I don’t want to completely spoil the film for you. But to be honest, there is not much to spoil. 

The film was extremely artsy and full of long, scenic, dramatic shots accompanied by Kanye’s Sunday service choir beautifully chanting out to the Lord. There were several songs featured from the “Jesus Is King” album as well as new versions of previously released Kanye songs, including “Ultralight Beams” and “Street Lights.” There were also Bible verses accompanied by silence in between movements (clusters of songs) that guided the film. 

The film was shot in James Turrell’s observatory located in Roden Crater. It’s a three-mile-long crater in Arizona created from an extinct volcano. The observatory is full of tunnels and other spaces that let in natural light in a gorgeous way. It was clear why Kanye selected this location for filming because the IMAX experience made it feel as if you were in the room with the choir.If you are not a fan of gospel music, then this film is not for you. But if you are a true Kanye fan, you should at least check it out. After the film pulled in $1 million opening weekend with it’s limited release, who knows how much longer it will remain in theaters. It is Kanye after all.

Featured image by Daniel Richter.

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