Background and release
On June 16, 2010 at the Sonisphere Festival at Bemowo Airport in Warsaw, Poland, the "big four" of American thrash metal—Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, and Anthrax—performed together for the first time. The bandmembers (except for Slayer's Jeff Hanneman) were first photographed together on the previous day. Their live concert, on June 22, was for one night only. Directed by Nick Wickham, the event was filmed and transmitted via satellite to over 450 movie theaters in the United States and over 350 movie theaters across Europe, Canada, and Latin America, including London's famed Leicester Square. Tickets were made available for around $20 at TheBigFourLive.com, which also listed the theaters where the concert was being screened. Delayed screenings took place in Australia, South Africa and New Zealand.
The film's contents and artwork were revealed on August 25, 2010. A limited-edition guitar pick was unveiled a day after the artwork was revealed. The European release was initially scheduled for October 11, but Metallica later announced on their official site that the European release would be pushed back to October 15, with an International release on October 18, and a North American release on October 19, 2010. On September 15, it was announced that a "super deluxe" limited edition box set would be released on the same date as the regular edition, and a 36-second video preview of the box set was released on September 17. In mid September, publication was postponed further to a European release on October 29, an International release on November 1, and a North American release on November 2, 2010. Four teaser clips from the video were released on October 12, and nine days later, Metallica's performance of "Sad but True", taken from the film, was released. A three-and-a-half-minute trailer was released on September 21, 2010.
The Slayer title card before the band's performance is the only one of the four bands that did not feature their official logo. In addition, all Slayer members (except drummer Dave Lombardo) did not participate in the "Am I Evil?" performance due to lack of interest.