The ‘ABBA Voyage’ show in London, which features three-dimensional renderings of band members Agnetha Fältskog, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad, is reportedly raking in $2m (£1.6m/€1.9m) a week.
‘ABBA Voyage’ opened in May last year at the purpose-built ABBA Arena, which can hold roughly 3,000 people. It features LED screens to make the venue seem deeper and 291 speakers to make the sound seem as real as possible.
Bloomberg has reported that ‘ABBA Voyage’ is one of the most expensive productions ever, with a rough price tag of £140m before the show even opened.
However, the investment is starting to pay off, as over the last 15 months, the virtual show has generated more than $150m in sales and sold more than 1.5 million tickets. According to the report from Bloomberg, the venue is roughly 99% full each night and with tickets costing around £85, the show would be making more than $2m every week.
‘ABBA Voyage’ is due to stay in London for a number of years, with potential plans for shows in cities like Las Vegas, New York, Singapore and Sydney.
Per Sundin, chief executive officer of Pophouse Entertainment, the project’s lead investor, told Bloomberg: “If you are an artist, you can create your legacy in a way you never could before. This is such a success. We already have been talking to some artists that really want to do this.”
Simon Fuller, former manager of the Spice Girls and producer of ‘American Idol’, had the original idea for ABBA Voyage, drawing inspiration from a hologram of Tupac Shakir performing at Coachella in 2012 and the image of Michael Jackson at the 2014 Billboard Music Awards.
In a statement, Fuller said: “My original concept was to create a ‘Virtual ABBA’ by using technology to take them back to their former selves in their heyday.”
Star Wars director George Lucas helped with making the show as visually immersive as possible through his Industrial Light & Magic visual-effects company.
Industrial Light & Magic utilised 160 motion-capture cameras to film ABBA members performing, and filmed younger body doubles for movements. These images are projected onto a screen, and the digital avatars perform 22 songs with help from 1,000 visual effects artists.
ABBA Arena has roughly 600 tonnes of equipment above the crowd, and 500 moving lights mapped to 30,000 points in the arena to create the illusion.