Madonna described the tour as « the journey of a soul from darkness to light ». It was divided into four sections: Transgression, where guns and violence was the main theme, Prophecy, where a mix of joyful songs that bring people together are performed, Masculine/Feminine, a combination of sensuality and fashion with a few of Madonna's classic songs performed in a French Cabaret-style, and Redemption, which Madonna labeled as « a big party and celebration ». The tour has received mostly positive reception from critics.
The tour courted many controversial subjects such as violence, firearms, human rights, nudity, and politics. Lawsuits threatened against Madonna have also been engaged from the tour. The MDNA Tour created immense success at the box office and many venues were instantly sold out. It was dubbed as the highest-grossing tour of 2012 by « Billboard » and grossed $305.2 million from 88 sold-out shows, becoming the twelfth highest-grossing tour of all time and surpassing Celine Dion's Taking Chance Tour as the second highest-grossing tour among female artists, behind Madonna's own « Sticky & Sweet Tour ». Madonna accepted the Top Touring Artist of the year at the 2013 « Billboard Music Awards ».
The first rehearsals began in February 2012 in New York City. The rehearsals on a real stage began May 1, 2012 at the « Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum ». The triangle-shaped stage of the tour consists of two walkways for Madonna to wade into the crowd and an enclosed area (« The Golden Triangle ») where selected fans can get close to the stage. There is also a huge, three-part video screen that promoters have called the largest in the world. The tour was initially planned to start in Tel Aviv, Israel on May 29, 2012, but was rescheduled to May 31 due to production delays .
Following the tickets sale opening, the tour created immense success at the box office and many venues were sold out. In Tel Aviv, 33.000 tickets for the first show were selling fast in the months previous to the premiere. Madonna's first ever show in Abu Dhabi had fans lined up in front of the « Virgin Megastore » for tickets of 24 hours before they went on general sale. All initial 22.000 tickets sold out in record-breaking one hour, prompting the promoter to add the second date there, which in turn sold out within a week. In Turkey, 47.000 tickets for the show in Istanbul sold out in four days. In the United States, 60.000 tickets for a show in « Yankee Stadium », New York City sold out in 20 minutes, prompting Live Nation to add a second date. Tickets for the show at « Sprint Center » in Kansas City sold out in 12 minutes, while the show in Houston sold out in less than an hour. In Canada, the concert at the « Bell Center » sold 16.000 tickets in 20 minutes, along with the show at the « Plains Of Abraham », selling 65.000 tickets in one hour. In Ottawa, 15.000 tickets for the show in « Scotiabank Place » sold out in 21 minutes,becoming the fastest-selling concert in the arena's 16-year history, beating out previous record holder AC/DC in 2009. All available tickets for Madonna's first date in Amsterdam sold out in 30 minutes, prompting Live Nation once again to add a second date. Madonna also sold more than 100.000 tickets in two days for three shows in Brazil.