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BTS smashes box office record with concert livestream

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A three-show engagement in Seoul by K-pop superstars BTS drew nearly 2.5 million offline and online viewers. Photo courtesy of Big Hit Entertainment
A three-show engagement in Seoul by K-pop superstars BTS drew nearly 2.5 million offline and online viewers. Photo courtesy of Big Hit Entertainment

SEOUL, March 14 (UPI) -- A three-concert series by K-pop superstars BTS that wrapped up over the weekend drew nearly 2.5 million online and offline viewers and set a record for a live cinema event, raking in more than $32 million at the box office in a one-day global release.

BTS Permission to Dance on Stage - Seoul brought the septet back to the stage for their first live concerts in South Korea since pre-pandemic shows in 2019. In-person tickets to Seoul Olympic Stadium were capped at 15,000 per show due to COVID-19 restrictions -- which also included a ban on chanting, singing and dancing.

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An additional 1.02 million fans from 191 countries viewed online streams of the shows on Thursday and Sunday, according to label Big Hit Entertainment.

On Saturday, the second night of the engagement, a live cinema broadcast was presented in 3,711 movie theaters in 75 countries and territories around the world, drawing in 1.4 million viewers, Big Hit said.

Preliminary sales figures of $32.6 million made the concert the highest-grossing event cinema release ever, according to distribution partner Trafalgar Releasing.

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In North America, the one-night event managed to land at No. 3 on the weekend domestic box office charts, Variety reported, behind only superhero blockbuster The Batman and the video game adaptation Uncharted.

BTS Permission to Dance on Stage - Seoul Live Viewing played in 803 theaters and earned roughly $6.84 million on Saturday, the magazine said, with tickets costing $35 in the United States and Canada.

The three-concert set marked the first time BTS has performed in Seoul since October 2019 on the Love Yourself: Speak Yourself tour. The group -- which includes members Jin, Suga, J-Hope, RM, Jimin, V and Jungkook -- held online concerts in 2020 and 2021 before returning for a handful of live performances in Los Angeles in November and December 2021.

After their Seoul run, BTS is heading to Las Vegas for four dates in April and will be up for a Grammy the same month for their single "Butter." The band's label, Big Hit Music, teased in December that BTS was prepping a new album but details remain scarce on the upcoming release.

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