Last Saturday that seemingly age-old question of how much money can really be made by an event cinema presentation may finally have an answer. On 12 March a live or near-live stream of a concert featuring Korean boy-band phenomenon BTS earned USD $32.6 million from one-off showings in 3,711 cinemas in 75 countries. The program, “BTS Permission to Dance on Stage – Seoul: Live Viewing,” broke the event cinema worldwide box office record.
In North America alone, the event was played on 803 screens and took in USD $6.84 million for a per-screen average of USD $8,500. BTS performed in for a sold out crowd in Seoul, South Korea at Olympic Stadium, marking the first time the group had played live in their native country since before the coronavirus pandemic made touring impossible. Proving that sometimes streaming can co-exist with a theatrical experience, BTS produced a livestream of their concerts at the same venue on 10 and 13 March, meaning audiences could have viewed the same show at home the day before and after the event cinema presentation.
So, now we know the outer limits of how much an event cinema program can currently gross at multiplexes. All you need is over 3,500 screens to charge a premium ticket price for showing a live concert by, arguably, the hottest musical act of the moment.