Amazing Grace the riveting concert film of the live recording of the late “Queen of Soul,” Aretha Franklin’s 1972 Grammy-winning gospel double album, Amazing Grace which opened April 5 at four theaters in New York City (Lincoln Square 13, Angelika Film Center, E-Walk 13, and City Cinemas 1, 2, 3) and Los Angeles (Arclight Hollywood, Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza 15, AMC Burbank 16, Landmark 12), today, expands to theaters in Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.
Amazing Grace is a portrait of an artistic genius at the height of her powers, and yet it almost remained in obscurity. The footage was originally shot in 1972 by Oscar-winning director Sydney Pollack, but technical issues caused the project to be shelved for nearly 50 years. The triumphant roll-out of this long-buried treasure is the culmination of years of painstaking work by producer Alan Elliott, who was determined to piece it together into a whole project over many years. He had been in negotiations to release the film up until Franklin’s passing in August 2018; with her family’s blessing, and the help of a team of dedicated producers, Amazing Grace is now being seen and enjoyed by fans across the country.
Amazing Grace was honored on March 27 with the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Documentary (Film) at the 50th annual ceremonies. On March 31, the film had its Los Angeles premiere at the New Temple Baptist Missionary Baptist Church in South Los Angeles, the same location where Franklin originally recorded her jaw-dropping performances 46 years ago.
In related news, Ms. Franklin was celebrated as the first recipient and namesake of The Aretha Franklin ICON Award at the 34th Annual Stellar Awards, which will air during Easter Weekend on the BET Network. This prestigious honor will now be presented annually – in perpetuity – to a deserving gospel artist.
To further celebrate the musical legacy of Ms. Franklin and her record-breaking gospel recording, Rhino Records recently released Amazing Grace: The Complete Recordings on vinyl for the very first time. Made available in time for Aretha’s birthday on March 22, this double-LP version was expanded and remastered in 1999 to include the full recordings from both nights at the New Temple Baptist Missionary Baptist Church. On its initial release, the album sold more than two million copies, earned a Grammy Award, and is still the biggest-selling live gospel album of all time and Franklin’s best-selling recording to date.