During a resurgence in concert films, Imax is releasing a dynamic, digitally remastered version of a classic Queen performance featuring Freddie Mercury, Brain May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon, which will have a limited run Jan. 18-21 in select Imax locations.
Queen Rock Montreal, directed by Saul Swimmer for Mercury Studios, originates from filming two consecutive performances in Montreal during 1981. To create the imagery, the original 35mm negative was rescanned at 4K and restored for the release at OnSight, a London-based postproduction company, and Imax.
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The songs were remixed from a 2007 5.1 version of the concert, and are now presented in Imax’s 12.0 sound format. The sound restoration was completed at London’s Halo, where the team worked with Kris Fredriksson and Justin Shirley-Smith from Queen Productions. Brian May and Roger Taylor reviewed and approved the work at the BFI Imax theater in London. Said Imax’s senior vp postproduction Bruce Markoe, “It was a lot of back and forth and review in Imax as part of the remastering process.”
The set list includes “Somebody to Love,” “Under Pressure,” “Another One Bites the Dust” and “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
Seeing the Imax release, music and entertainment industry vet Walt Versen, who was the band’s security chief during the 1981 performance, said, “I couldn’t believe how powerful it was, to see the 30-foot face of Freddie Mercury — that’s the band I toured with.” He adds that he sees “an edge” to the performance, as Queen had made a deal to do a live concert movie but it was moved from its originally planned cities. (Versen is currently a producer on a doc titled Play the Game: A Jock & Roll Story, the story of how he and a small group of Northwestern football players became Queen’s security team.)
The 2018 Queen film Bohemian Rhapsody made $910 million and won four Oscars.
Marcoe confirmed that Imax is exploring additional “options” for concert films in its format.
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