Women At The Top: Boxoffice Stars In Pre-Pandemic 2020

Miranda Lambert
Jason Kempin / Getty Images / Essential Broadcast Media
– Miranda Lambert
pictured at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville Jan. 24, 2020, was the third-biggest female-fronted tour of 2020 pre-pandemic.

In celebrating the Women of Live, Pollstar looks back at the 10 most successful female performers based on concert grosses in early 2020 prior to the pandemic shutdown in mid-March. The list includes a variety of solo headliners, covering multiple genres, age groups and levels of stardom – but all heavy hitters at the box office during that period.

Heading up the list are Celine Dion and Madonna, who were both on the road in the early months of 2020 after kicking off high-profile treks just four months earlier. The superstars began their world tours in September 2019 just one day apart, with Madonna starting on the 17th and Dion going out the following day.
Dion’s $53 million box office haul from 308,648 tickets at 25 shows in those first 11 weeks of 2020 makes her “Courage” world tour the top grosser among female headliners during that period. It’s just over half of what the tour has earned so far since it launched. With 646,346 tickets sold across 52 shows, overall tour revenue totals $104 million so far. The tour is currently on hiatus with future dates booked into 2022.
That’s not the case for Madonna, whose “Madame X” tour wrapped early due to the shutdown, but not before racking up $17.9 million from 62,414 sold seats at 26 shows in 2020’s first weeks, making her tour the second highest for a female headliner. Final counts from the tour, which took place over nearly six months, show $51.4 million grossed from 179,289 tickets sold at 75 concerts in Europe and the U.S.
Joining Dion and Madonna is country star Miranda Lambert, who had the third-highest grossing tour in early 2020 with a $10.2 million box office take from 137,567 tickets sold at 17 performances. Her “Wildcard” tour began in mid-January but was suspended on March 2. Though shows originally booked in the spring and rescheduled for the fall were ultimately cancelled, Lambert has dates booked for this year. She is set to play Fort Worth’s famed Billy Bob’s Texas for five nights in April and May before a string of fair and festival appearances in the summer and fall.
Halsey has 16 European dates in the archives from her “Manic” world tour that ran early last year, wrapping on March 12 in Manchester, England. She also originally rescheduled dates for 2021, but ultimately canceled the remainder of the tour because of the pandemic. Final stats have grosses topping out at $4.7 million from 100,594 sold tickets.
Mariah Carey rounds out the top five women headliners on the strength of eight performances from her “The Butterfly Returns” concert residency at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. With $3.6 million in grosses, attendance totaled 26,459, an average of 3,307 per show.
With 12 performances in February and March 2020, Jill Scott amassed a gross of $3.2 million on her tour celebrating the 20th anniversary of her debut album, Who Is Jill Scott?: Words and Sounds Vol. 1. Her final show was on March 11 in Tupelo, Miss., but the tour was originally booked through the month. Sold tickets numbered 34,173 at the 12 theaters that hosted the artist.
Pop artist and “The Voice” alum Melanie Martinez is the seventh-highest grosser with $2.2 million earned at 18 concerts in Europe from Jan. 21 through Feb. 17, 2020. A sellout at London’s O2 Academy Brixton drew a crowd of 4,921, the largest on the trek which saw a total of 49,039 tickets sold.
Mexican singer-songwriter Ana Gabriel logged $2.1 million at four headlining events in February 2020 to land in the top 10; Gladys Knight had the ninth-highest gross with $2 million grossed from 13 shows in Oceania and North America. Gwen Stefani caps the list with $1.8 million from the final four shows of her own Las Vegas residency, “Just a Girl” at the Zappos Theater.