Now that Beyoncé’ has just wrapped up her Renaissance World Tour, the highest-grossing tour by a female artist and by a Black artist, a concert documentary focused on the tour and other aspects of the icon’s life is set to become another blockbuster hit.
“Renaissance: A Film by Beyoncé” will be released on Dec. 1.
On Oct. 2, the day that tickets went on sale for the movie, AMC Theaters reported shows were sold out or nearly sold out. The movie will show on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays for at least four weeks. AMC Theatres Distribution is handling distribution of “Renaissance: A Film by Beyoncé” with sub-distribution partners in the United States and other countries.
As the public prepares for the upcoming film, the entertainment world is counting the huge amounts of cash raised by the live tour.
The Renaissance World Tour has grossed $461 million, according to Billboard Boxscore. That amount surpasses the $411 million total for Madonna’s 2008-2009 Sticky & Sweet Tour, the previous record holder for the highest-grossing tour for a female artist. Beyoncé also broke her own record of having the highest-grossing tour by a Black artist—a record that was previously held by Beyoncé’s The Formation Tour, which took place in 2016 and generated an estimated $256 million in ticket sales.
Beyond the financial numbers, music critics and fans have praised The Renaissance Tour as Beyoncé’s creatively best so far. The tour, Beyoncé’s ninth as a solo artist, has attracted diverse audiences. Launched in support of her Grammy-winning 2022 album “Renaissance,” this 2023 stadium tour began on May 10 in Stockholm, and ended Oct. 1 in Kansas City, Missouri. Only one other tour this year has affected audiences this way.
Beyoncé’s Renaissance World Tour has been getting compared to pop singer Taylor Swift’s upcoming The Eras Tour because both events were taking place at the same time this year. Eras, Swift’s sixth tour, will end in November 2024, so it will very likely end up as the highest-grossing tour ever by a female artist, because it will have a year’s worth of more concert dates than the Renaissance World Tour. Both tours also have caused fans to go on spending sprees, not only for tickets and travel costs but also for concert fashions and tour-inspired events, according to The New York Times. Swift also has a similar deal with AMC for her concert documentary “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour,” which is set for release on Oct. 13.
There are some noticeable differences for both tours.
Media reports suggest that the Renaissance World Tour and The Eras Tour have had different approaches on a financial level for many non-celebrity fans. There have been several news reports about parents paying thousands of dollars per household to buy tickets for The Eras tour. Although there are no doubt some households who paid about the same amounts to see the Renaissance World Tour, parents of Beyoncé’s younger fans seem to be less likely to pay those amounts for concert tickets on the Renaissance World Tour.
Neither tour has escaped criticism about concert tickets. The Renaissance World Tour offered controversial “listening only” tickets (at an average non-resale price of $157 per ticket), for seats behind the stage, without any video monitors to see what’s on stage. Some people have blasted this option of “listening only” tickets as greed.
Meanwhile, The Eras Tour caused an uproar before it even started.
Ticketmaster’s online ticket sales operations malfunctioned and were temporarily canceled because the company couldn’t keep up with the demand for The Eras Tour tickets when they went on sale in November 2022.
In May, Swift’s reputation was briefly marred by controversy during The Eras Tour. At the time, the pop star was in a short-lived dating relationship with Matt Healy, the lead singer of the British rock band The 1975. Healy mimicked Black female rapper Ice Spice and called her “dumb,” and publicly admitted that he liked going to a porn website whose specialty is violent degradation Black women. In an apparent effort at damage control, Swift teamed up with Ice Spice for a remix of Swift’s song “Karma.” And then, on May 26, Swift invited Ice Spice to perform “Karma” on stage with her during an Eras Tour concert in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Swift and Healy’s month-long relationship reportedly ended about a week later.
Swift’s spokesperson did not respond to Black News & Views’ request for comment on this controversy or about any aspect of The Eras Tour. Beyoncé’s spokesperson did not respond to Black News & Views’ request for comment on Beyoncé or any aspect of The Renaissance World Tour. AMC Entertainment did not respond to Black News & Views’ request for comment about “Renaissance: A Film by Beyoncé” and “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour.”
The musical approach for each tour is also very different. The Eras Tour is a greatest-hits collection from Swift’s entire music career so far. The Renaissance World Tour had a less conventional set list: Instead of being the same greatest hits at every show, the set lists on the Renaissance World Tour have put an emphasis on songs from “Renaissance.”
In terms of the fashion that Beyoncé and Swift have worn on their respective tours, the Renaissance World Tour delivered more media impact value (MIV) than The Eras Tour, according to Launchmetrics data reported by Women’s Wear Daily.
Launchmetrics, a software and data analytics company, reveals that as of August 2023, The Renaissance World Tour generated $187 million in MIV, compared to the $97.5 million that The Eras Tour generated in MIV. Fashion brands that have deals with Beyoncé on the Renaissance World Tour include Alexander McQueen, Tiffany & Co., Balmain, and Valentino. Swift’s fashion-brand alliances on The Eras Tour include Versace, Roberto Cavalli, and Zuhair Murad.
The Renaissance World Tour has seemed to particularly resonate with Black women.
After seeing a Renaissance World Tour concert at MetLife Stadium on July 30, Oprah Winfrey raved on Instagram: “I have never in my life experienced something as transcendent as @beyonce’s Renaissance Tour. That kind of talent, synergy, expression, and anointing is something that comes straight from a Source that creates the planets. The dancers, the production, the musicians, and the team in front and behind the scenes, all perfectly align to create a renaissance in today’s world. You must see it.”
Malaika Jabali, a senior news and politics editor at Essence, wrote a September 2023 personal essay for the magazine and site about Beyoncé’s Renaissance World Tour, which Jabali describes as “intoxicating, making for a remarkably expensive habit. I couldn’t just see her [Beyoncé] one time. It was multiple. Somehow, I went from trying to score a ticket to watch her live at her first North American stop in Toronto to hightailing it to my third show to get ever-closer to the musical icon.”
The concept that fans have a unique and personal connection to a superstar has translated into big business for Beyoncé’s Renaissance World Tour, said inclusive marketing coach and consultant Sonia Thompson in a Forbes column published in August 2023:
“The success she’s experiencing now, on top of years of achievements and accolades, is the cumulative effect of cultivating a feeling of belonging amongst fans,” Thompson wrote.
“This is important because business is about belonging. The more people feel like they belong with you, the more they will reward you with their attention and loyalty.”