140 museums big and small spanning 30 countries participated in screenings from November 4-19, 2023. The film captivated audiences worldwide, sparking a resurgence of interest in historical narratives through the lens of heavy metal. According to feedback, the maximum number of screenings held by a museum over the two-week period (November 4-19) stood at 72, with some museums reporting up to 1,200 visitors in total who were visiting solely to watch the movie.
Following a successful collaboration with Sabaton and the band’s “History Rocks” charity initiative, Nancy Bentley, curator and event coordinator, Hutchings Museum, Lehi (Utah, USA), enthusiastically shared: “This was one of the most exciting projects we’ve ever participated in. We were excited about it but couldn’t have anticipated how it exceeded expectations! The energy simply buzzed at the museum in anticipation, during and after the screening.”
Riding a similar wave of enthusiasm, Rob Phillimore, marketing manager, Bodmin Keep (Cornwall, UK), expressed the tangible impact of the project, stating: “Screening the Sabaton movie gave our visitor numbers a huge boost. We only have a small screening room, but each screening we held was sold out!”
Ian Flint, CEO, Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome (Essex, UK), echoed the sentiment, emphasising the profound connection fostered by the project: “It was wonderful to see the metal and museum communities merge through our shared appreciation of history. By understanding it, by making it relative, we can learn from it. Sabaton has taken a huge step forward in making our history relative and real to millions of fans worldwide, and we’re hugely grateful to them for the History Rocks project.”
Sabaton guitarist, Tommy Johansson, at Arsenalen, Sweden
Eager to play an active part of this experience, band members attended some hand-selected screenings across Europe to witness the premiere, engage with their fans and hold Q&A and signing sessions.
Meanwhile, a handful of war veterans attended some of these screenings, adding a poignant layer to the emotional impact of the film.
Pär Sundström stated: “I am incredibly happy to see the overwhelming turnout for the screenings of “The War To End All Wars – The Movie”. It’s heartening to witness the dedication of fans who travelled significant distances to attend these events. The response and the experience have been amazing, and we’re grateful for the opportunity to share this historical journey with our fans.”
He added: “This project honestly went better than we could have even imagined. The feedback we received both during and after the event was incredible, and the fact that we’ve actually made a difference to the museums with the “History Rocks” project means everything to us. Mission accomplished.”
Sabaton bassist, Pär Sundström at The Tank Museum, UK.
The media coverage surrounding the “History Rocks” project has been nothing short of extraordinary, creating a buzz in various outlets worldwide. The story was picked up by the likes of Metal Hammer UK and Rolling Stone France to name a few, plus various other non-music-related publications and outlets such as Associated Press in the UK, Movieweb and Yahoo News, among many others.