I encountered a comment here referring to the **Spirits in the Forest** concert film as a “big cash grab.” I’m a bit of a box office nerd, so I’ve already checked the [Box Office Mojo](https://www.boxofficemojo.com/release/rl2936768001/weekly/) for the preliminary numbers. I found that one night of Spirits has pulled in a US domestic gross of $435,851 in 388 theaters (international numbers take longer to come in). Compare this to Charlie’s Angels, which is in the #5 slot for a *seven day average* US Domestic Gross of $427,423 per day in 3,452 theaters. In the #2 slot is Midway, which has grossed a domestic $435,841 per day in 3,242 theaters for a 14 day average.
What this tells me is one night of Spirits had at least a decent attendance in the US, though it’s hard to compare a single day release to a multiple days release (at so many theaters on days which include weekends). What it certainly illustrates is that big budget films don’t make money after one day of attendance. The production costs of Spirits likely did not match that of a big budget film, but I would be very surprised if this film makes a profit. Certainly a worldwide release of a concert film doesn’t match the revenues of the sorts of long tours that hard working DM is famous for.
At $435,851 gross averaged at $15 a pop, my math tells me about 29,000 US fans attended day one of Spirit’s release in the US, (with a future date tacked on for this coming Sunday). One night of a sold out waldbühne holds 22,290 fans. Heavy-metal veterans Metallica banked a record-breaking £4.3m (5.5 US Dollars) last month on just the first night of a two-date run when Trafalgar released their latest concert film, *S&M²*. Now that film made a tidy profit.
It remains to be seen what the international gross is for Spirits (international numbers take longer to come in). A concert film is a means of financially leveraging existing tour performances, but one more night at waldbühne would have grossed most of the same amount as the US gross, and wouldn’t have required a massive, all out Anton Corbijn production (staging+filming+post production) to create a film, or sharing the profits with Trafalgar, which distributed the film.
Depeche Mode made this concert film for the fans, for those of us who cannot get to concerts. It is another way for us to share our magical experience of this very giving, loving group of special and talented musicians, and representatives of the magical kinship we share as fans. On the way, they [redefined the genre](https://www.theguardian.com/film/2019/nov/02/depeche-mode-anton-corbijn-cinema-music-gigs) through their stunning collaboration with Anton Corbijn.
As usual, I know that Depeche Mode has been thinking of the fans all along.