Talking Heads Concert Film ‘Stop Making Sense’ Becomes Biggest Imax Live Event Screening Ever

A24’s 40th anniversary screening of Jonathan Demme’s Talking Heads Stop Making Sense concert film has become Imax’s biggest live event screening ever.

On Monday night, the Talking Heads concert film earned $640,839 and sold out 25 screens across 165 Imax locations in North America. That included a world premiere at the Scotiabank Theatre as part of the Toronto Film Festival.

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A24’s 4K restoration of Demme’s 1984 concert film also played at the BFI IMAX in London. The TIFF world premiere was followed by a Q&A live-streamed from the Canadian festival and moderated by filmmaker Spike Lee, who directed the concert film David Byrne’s American Utopia, which bowed in Toronto three years ago.

All four original band members were on hand in Toronto: David Byrne, Tina Weymouth, Chris Frantz, and Jerry Harrison.

“The unforgettable Stop Making Sense looks and sounds even more incredible in Imax, and we’re excited to share this event with TIFF and our audiences everywhere,’ Rich Gelfond, CEO of Imax, said in a statement. The film technologies company has pursued new revenue streams from concerts, celebrity Q&As and other showings via its Imax Live network.

A24 acquired the Talking Heads concert film and completed a 4K restoration ahead of a theatrical run to kick off exclusively in Imax theatres on Sept. 22 and in theaters everywhere on Sept. 29. Stop Making Sense was directed by the late Jonathan Demme and is produced by Gary Goetzman.

The Imax Live events come as consumers view more movies in the home, and Imax is pivoting to more exclusive film screenings, with stars and filmmakers taking part in live question-and-answer sessions.

In January 2022, Peter Jackson’s Disney+  documentary The Beatles: Get Back was edited down and played in nearly 70 Imax theaters across North America and at the BFI Theatre in London. That was followed by the three-time Oscar-winning Lord of the Rings director taking questions from the Imax audience.

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