Boxoffice Insider: Coldplay Soared With Record-Smashing ‘Dreams’ Tour

Theo Wargo / Getty Images /SiriusXM
– Coldplay
performs live at The Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York City, for SiriusXM and Pandora’s Small Stage Series on Sept. 23, 2021, a treat for the lucky few in attendance as the band has most recently headlined stadiums.

Coldplay’s multi-decade career as an internationally renowned rock band has included award-winning triumph as a recording artist and provided multiple avenues for activism and social involvement, but the group’s landmark achievements as a concert headliner lands them among the elite in the live entertainment industry – most notably with their “A Head Full of Dreams” tour.

Their onstage presence stretches back to 2000 when they toured in support of their debut studio album, Parachutes, released that summer. Six tours followed, all of them global in scope, but most of the box-office highlights and record-setting ticket sales results were established during “A Head Full of Dreams,” the 2016-2017 trek that spanned over a year and a half, covering five continents.
The tour was the band’s highest grosser, accumulating more than $517 million in box-office revenue during its 20-month run. Overall attendance worldwide topped 5.3 million from 115 reported headlining performances. It reigns as the fifth highest-grossing tour of all time, according to the box-office archives. Only the “Divide” tour by Ed Sheeran, U2’s “360,” the “Not in This Lifetime…” trek by Guns N’ Roses and The Rolling Stones’ “A Bigger Bang” ended with a higher gross among the all-time top earners.
Hometown fans in London are responsible for two of the most prominent box-office records set during Coldplay’s live performance career. A four-show engagement at the city’s Wembley Stadium during “A Head Full of Dreams” is on record as the highest-grossing and best-attended concert engagement ever for the band.
Wembley was the eighth stop on the first European leg of the tour that began in May 2016 following an opening seven-city trek in Latin America in March and April of that year. The first London show was on June 15, followed by concerts on the 16th, 18th and 19th. The overall number of sold tickets at the stadium reached 303,985, topping a prior record-setting concert run that occurred just two months earlier during the tour’s opening Latin American leg. Mexico City’s Foro Sol stadium hosted the band April 15-17 and sold a total of 195,192 tickets, itself a new attendance record for the group at the time. It beat the ticket tally from a run of three concerts at London’s Emirates Stadium during the 2012 “Mylo Xyloto” tour by about 21,000 tickets.
As “A Head Full of Dreams” continued into its second summer, the Mexico City ticket total was again surpassed by the final ticket count at another stadium on the schedule. Stade de France in Paris moved 235,611 tickets at three shows in July 2017 to rank second behind Wembley, so Foro Sol now ranks third among venues with the band’s all-time best-attended events.
The four 2016 concerts at Wembley Stadium also smashed any previous gross record set by Coldplay on any of their past tours, and the whopping $29.7 million box-office haul in London is still the band’s largest gross ever. No. 2 on their all-time list of top grosses comes from the 2017 Stade de France engagement that also ranked second in attendance. Earnings from those three shows in Paris topped $19.8 million. Then third on the list is the aforementioned Emirates Stadium engagement in June 2012 with ticket revenue from the three shows totaling $14.4 million.
Coldplay’s top box-office grosses globally were also stadium events, with all but one occurring during “A Head Full of Dreams.” The top North American gross is $11.4 million from the 2016 Foro Sol engagement in Mexico City, while the highest in Asia is $12.5 million from two shows at Singapore’s National Stadium that kicked off the tour’s second year. São Paulo’s Allianz Parque produced the top South American gross of $10.4 million during the tour’s final leg in November 2017.
Yet, in Australia, the highest gross on record came in November 2012 during the “Mylo Xyloto” tour. The band played two shows at the now-demolished Allianz Stadium in Sydney, earning $10.8 million.