Metallica Smashes Global Box Office Record With ‘S&M²’
Best-selling heavy metal titans Metallica have smashed a new record—but this time, it’s at the box office.
Last week, the band released its new concert film, Metallica and San Francisco Symphony: S&M², in more than 3,700 cinemas around the world. The film pulled in more than $5.5 million worldwide, making it the biggest global rock event cinema release of all time. It scored a per-screen average of $1,500 with 460,000 admissions, and $1.2 million of its global gross came from North America.
As its title suggests, S&M² sees Metallica partnering with the San Francisco Symphony to blaze through symphonic renditions of their biggest hits and beloved deep cuts. The footage was captured over two sold-out nights at the 18,000-capacity Chase Center in San Francisco, where the thrash metal four-piece cut its teeth in the early 1980s.
S&M² comes 20 years after Metallica’s original S&M live album, which the band recorded at the Berkeley Community Theatre. The album debuted and peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 and has since been certified 5x platinum by the RIAA. “The Call of Ktulu” won Best Rock Instrumental at the 2001 Grammys.
Most bands can only dream of selling 5 million copies of their biggest album, let alone a live album recorded with a symphony. But Metallica is not most bands. The group has racked up six consecutive No. 1 studio albums, starting with 1991’s self-titled album (affectionately nicknamed The Black Album) and going up through their most recent release, 2016’s Hardwired… to Self-Destruct. The Black Album has sold more than 16 million copies in the United States, making it the best-selling album of the Nielsen SoundScan era. (The company began tracking sales data in 1991.)
Throughout their nearly 40-year career, the members of Metallica have helped redefine and usher heavy metal into the mainstream, establishing themselves as innovators and risk-takers. They continue to shake things up, as their S&M2 performances mark their first concerts to feature songs from all 10 of their studio albums plus the first S&M.
If you missed the first round of screenings, don’t fret—S&M² will return to theaters around the world for one more night on Oct. 30. Tickets are on sale now.