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When John Meglen and Celine Dion’s husband and manager René Angélil first announced plans for her Las Vegas residency in 2003, the response from the music business was mostly bewilderment.
“Everybody thought we were crazy,” Meglen told Billboard in February. Las Vegas “was kind of a place you went on the downside of your career,” and many predicted the show would fail, Meglen said. Sixteen years and 1,141 performances later, Dion played the final show of her second Las Vegas residency at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace on June 8. Her two residencies, A New Day (2003-07) and Celine (2011-19), combined to gross $681.3 million and sell 4,555,752 tickets, according to figures reported to Billboard Boxscore. They remain the two highest-grossing and best-selling Las Vegas residencies of all time.
Since launching March 15, 2011, the Canadian icon played 427 shows of the Celine residency, earning $296.2 million and selling 1,741,175 tickets along the way. The show’s last leg, stretching from May 14 through June 8, grossed $18.9 million and sold almost 68,000 tickets, enough to rank No. 2 on the Hot Tours tally dated June 15. Split three ways, her final 16 shows impact the Current Boxscore chart at Nos. 1, 6 and 11.
Dion’s first residency, A New Day, ran for five years and grossed $385.1 million with a ticket count of 2,814,577.
Both residencies were promoted by AEG Presents/Concerts West and Caesars Entertainment.
After a reported 714 shows of A New Day over five years, Celine sported a more flexible schedule with 427 performances over eight-plus years. This allowed Dion to tour internationally during her Vegas breaks. Since the residency’s debut in 2011, she has grossed an additional $174.5 million on the road in Europe, Asia and Australia.
While A New Day stands tall as the bigger of Dion’s residencies, Celine maintained a higher per-show gross and attendance. Celine averaged $693,000 per show, up 29 percent from the 2003-07 run, which paced $539,000 each night. Her average attendance also increased from 3,942 tickets to 4,078.
Dion first made her mark on the Billboard charts in the 1990s, with three No. 1 Billboard 200 albums and four No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 singles. Her album Falling Into You won the Grammy Award for album of the year in 1997, and ultimately, she was named Billboard’s No. 5 Artist of the ’90s. But as her musical output has become less frequent in the new millennium, her live business boomed.
After grossing $77.9 million from Dec. 12, 1990 through Dec. 31, 1999, Dion went to Sin City, where, as we know by now, she became one of the most successful live acts in the industry. Dion’s reported career gross now stands at a towering $1.082 billion, one of only eight artists to cross the billion mark in the history of Billboard Boxscore.
John Nelson, senior vp at AEG Presents, commented in a statement to Billboard, “AEG Presents/Concerts West has operated the Colosseum at Caesars Palace and produced and promoted the thousands of shows there for nearly two decades. The success that Celine delivered at the debut of the show in 2003 and in those early years initially defied a lot of skeptics.” He continued, “Now, the strength of her business that has carried through and continues to grow stronger, goes much further: it defies expectations, it defies the rules of the business, it almost defies explanation! It’s humbling and invigorating to work with such a powerful force.”
Dion is heading out on the Courage World Tour, kicking off Sept. 18 in Quebec City, in support of her upcoming 12th studio album, Courage. Outside of her Las Vegas residency, it will mark her first North American trek since 2009’s Taking Chances World Tour.
This story first appeared on Billboard.com.
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