Box office watchers were pleasantly surprised by last weekend’s record-breaking performance of the concert film PERMISSION TO DANCE ON STAGE, featuring the Korean K-Pop superstars BTS. On Saturday, the one-night-only screenings pulled in $32.6M in 75 worldwide markets, including $6.8M in North America. Tickets for the “live viewing” in cinemas event were sold at a premium $35 price, resulting in a whopping $8,500 per-screen average, second only to THE BATMAN for the weekend. Comscore’s Paul Dergarabedian described this result as “astonishing” and “unprecedented.”
The event was distributed by UK’s Trafalgar Releasing, a specialist in “event cinema” titles. It was easily the most successful event cinema release in history and maybe an opportunity for future success with concerts and other non-traditional movies. While “alternative content” has been discussed for years, their box office results have been spotty, even before the pandemic. Most exhibitors have settled back to relying almost entirely on new Hollywood releases. Still, with the rise of streaming and fragmenting of audiences, theatres may do well to supplement blockbusters by also offering alternative entertainment, including live concerts and sporting events.