Taylor Swift fans know the greatest movies of all time have never been made, but that might be in question on October 13, when her The Eras Tour concert film is set to be released in North America.
The bigger question might be: why did Swift decide to release her highly anticipated movie theatrically via a streaming service?
The film has already reached milestones. It broke records for single-day advance ticket sales with $26 million in tickets sold on August 31, according to AMC Theaters, surpassing the previous “Spider-Man: No Way Home” record holder.
But Swift’s latest film is a departure from years past, when she aired her concert films and documentaries on streaming services. Experts say choosing movie theaters for the Eras Tour movie debut over the small screen is a decision that aligns with both Swift’s business acumen and her relationship with her fans.
Swift’s previous documentaries, “Miss Americana” and “Taylor Swift Reputation Stadium Tour” are on Netflix, while “Folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions” is available on Disney+. “Taylor Swift: Journey to Fearless” aired on The Hub, since rebranded as Discovery Family. “The 1989 World Tour Live” was released on Apple Music. Warner Bros. Discovery, the parent company of CNN, also owns the Discovery Network.
Unlike its previous concerts, the Eras Tour has become a cultural phenomenon. Many fans dress up in themed outfits to represent each of Swift’s “eras” or fan jokes, donning everything from sparkly dresses to cowboy boots to cat suits. Some make hundreds of friendship bracelets to swap during shows and memorize lyrics and fan chants for her roughly three-hour performance.
In a movie theater, Swifties can participate in these rituals with other fans, which would not be the case for watching at home on the couch. The theater’s ability to recreate the experience of a concert is likely one of the main reasons Swift decided to choose the big screen for her film, said Jonathan Kuuskoski, director of the entrepreneurship and leadership department at the University of Michigan School of Music, Drama and Dance.
“The film basically functions as an overflow room for the concert tour,” Kuuskoski said.
Swift seemed to encourage the theater to become a makeshift concert hall, assignment on social media: “Period outfits, friendship bracelets, singing and dancing encouraged”, adding “1, 2, 3, LGB! the acronym for a concert fan chant.
Demand for Swift’s concerts has been astronomical, crashing Ticketmaster’s website last November and prompting US lawmakers to investigate whether the company had a monopoly on ticket sales. Ticketmaster faced further problems in July when fans tried to buy tickets for its shows in France.
While her concerts aren’t lacking in audiences, a theatrical release opens the door to Swifties who can’t afford concert tickets, as well as potential new fans willing to pay for a movie ticket. without committing to a concert, said Ralph Jacodine, an assistant professor at Berklee College of Music and a former concert organizer who has worked with Bruce Springsteen, Kiss and others.
Adult tickets for the film are set at $19.89, a nod to Swift’s “1989” album, the re-recording of which is slated for release two weeks after the theatrical debut of the “Eras Tour.” Swift’s favorite number is 13, and tickets for kids and seniors are rightly set at $13.13.
Releasing the film theatrically is also a more lucrative decision than supplying it to a streaming service, Kuuskoski said. For example, if moviegoers have to buy a ticket every time they watch a movie, this is not the case for streaming. Swift could also sell the film to a streaming service after it completes its big screen run.
Releasing the film in theaters before the end of the tour apparently risks cannibalizing ticket sales for the concert itself. but the timing actually helps maintain the momentum surrounding her tour, says Jacodine. Swift’s world tour ends at the end of 2024.
“I don’t think she could benefit from less publicity than what’s happening now,” he said.
Others seemed to have their own reasons for worrying about the Eras Tour movie release schedule. “Exorcist: Believer,” originally slated for release the same day as Swift’s film, moved it up a week.
“Look what you made me do. The Exorcist: Believer Moves To 10/6/23 #TaylorWins’, Producer Of Next Horror Movie posted on “X”, formerly Twitter, just hours after Swift announced her movie.
The summer has already marked the start of a cinematic renaissance, as blockbusters ‘Barbie’ and ‘Oppenheimer’ raked in a combined $511 million in worldwide box office sales during their weekend run. opening and rekindled hopes that consumers will return to theaters after the pandemic forced them to. close their doors. “Barbie” is distributed by Warner Bros. Discovery, owner of CNN.
The Eras Tour film will likely extend the surge in movie ticket sales caused by the “Barbenheimer” phenomenon, especially as cinemas step up their own efforts to attract moviegoers, says Michael O’Leary , CEO of the National Association of Theater Owners. .
AMC is selling collectible popcorn jars and fountain cups in theaters starting the day the film is released, and is offering free posters as well as ticket purchases while supplies last.
“I don’t think it’s something that’s going to last two or three weeks,” O’Leary said. “You’re going to have people going multiple times. »