Black Eyed Peas Launch 3D Concert Experience

3 Apr

REPORTING FROM L.A. LIVE — Los Angeles rap group the Black Eyed Peas broke new ground March 30 when they became the first group to ever simulcast a live concert into 3D.

The group’s sold-out show at the Staples Center in Los Angeles was broadcast to 500 different Regal Cinema theatres across the U.S. Only the brand new Regal Cinemas L.A. Live Stadium 14 near the Staples Center broadcast the movie in 3D, but concert promoter and Staples Center owner AEG has plans to push for a big expansion of 3D in the coming months.

CEO Tim Leiweke said the Staples Center and AEG have built a large, untapped library of 3D performances for many of the acts who have played the facility, and plans for more theatrical releases are in the works.

“It’s going to take between $500,000 to $1 million per concert to film and capture, and that’s not including distribution,” Leiweke said. “We have to figure out the economics and the revenue, and doing one night at the Regal Cinemas isn’t going to cut it. But we’re very committed to technology with more live events, and we’ll be distributing more films as both single night screens and longer run screenings.”

About 600 attended the 3D screening at LA Live, and Leiweke estimates that about 20,000 people nationwide saw the screening.

“If we charge $25 a head, it’s easy to do the math and realize that after you get your split with the movie theaters, there’s still not enough to pay for production. A diversification of the revenue streams for this type of event is going to be critical,” Leiweke said.

Concert movies are becoming a big business for AEG and top-notch artists with international draw. The AEG-produced film “This Is It!” showcasing Michael Jackson’s rehearsals for his doomed comeback concert grossed $72 million in theaters and on DVD, while the Jonas Brothers 3D concert movie pulled in $19 million in 2009 (the film wasn’t simulcast live). Miley Cyrus did an impressive $65 million in receipts with her 2009 film “Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert”

Leiweke said Will.i.am, the group’s producer/rapper/unofficial leader was a driving force behind launching the simulcast.

“There was a real buzz in the marketplace and the industry because of the way they activated,” the film, Leiweke said.

The Black Eyed Peas are in the midst of The E.N.D. World tour, a 25-truck, 190-crew tour that utilizes over $8 million in staging and production equipment. AEG Live is the promoter for the tour, and Leiweke confirmed that producer Randy Philips utilized some of the staging from Michael Jackson’s planned comeback concert, including an elevator staging system with the first ever “toaster effect.” Like a toaster oven, the elevator sends performers flying several feet in the air — making them appear as if they popped out from the stage. Singer Fergie landed the five-foot stunt while wearing stiletto heels.
The group sold out their March performance at the Houston Rodeo and Livestock show, drawing 73,073. They grossed $1,035,318 during a Feb. 6 concert at the American Airlines Arena in Miami. The Black Eyed Pea’s U.S. tour continues through April 10 with a concert at the Tacoma (Wash.) Dome before heading to Europe and then returning to the states for an Aug. 3 concert at the TD Garden in Boston.

Besides the 3D film, Leiweke said he was particularly impressed by how the Black Eyed Peas activated the entire 100-acre L.A. Live Campus. Besides the show at the Staples Center, the band did a fan rally on Nokia Plaza prior to the show and hosted an after-party at the Congo Room, a salsa-themed club at LA Live, who’s investors include Will.i.am, Jennifer Lopez and actor Jimmy Smits.

“There are a few dozen artists who have the ability to activate all of LA Live and turn their concert into an all-day event,” Lewieke said. “Music needs to be interactive. It needs to be a festival, it needs to be about the fans, it needs to be about an event, and it needs to encompass a couple days.”

Interviewed for this article: Tim Leiweke, (213) 741-7107

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