Look what you made her do? After shattering tour ticket sales records late last year with her Taylor Swift The Eras Tour and selling out concert venues globally, reigning pop icon Taylor Swift is aiming to do the same at the box office.
The recently announced Taylor Swift The Eras Tour concert film has set single-day sales records in the US, with takings easily surpassing those set by some of the biggest Hollywood films in the last few years. Distributed by AMC Theatres, the 170-minute film covers the current 2023–2024 concert tour by the 33-year-old award-winning singer-songwriter, and premieres on October 13, 2023.
AMC reported that ticket sales for the film crossed US26 million in the first three hours of pre-sales, setting a new AMC performance record and easily beating the US$16.9 million single-day record previously held by Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021). It went on to sell $47 million in tickets in a single day, with industry pundits likening demand to those similar to that of Marvel and Star Wars movies.
The concert film has also beaten the US$20 million pre-sales record set by Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015), and comes in at just US$3 million shy of the industry record of US$50 million set by Avengers: Endgame (2019).
One reason for this high performance could be the slightly higher ticket prices. On average, regular movie tickets are priced between US$12 to US$18 in the US, and in true Taylor Swift fashion, tickets for her film are numerically loaded, and priced at US$19.89 for adults (1989 is her fifth studio album), and US$13.13 for children and seniors (13 is Swift’s lucky number). The film will also be released on IMAX and Dolby, which costs slightly more.
The Eras Tour has been the most meaningful, electric experience of my life so far and I’m overjoyed to tell you that it’ll be coming to the big screen soon
Starting Oct 13th you’ll be able to experience the concert film in theaters in North America! Tickets are on sale now at… pic.twitter.com/eKRqS8C7d1
— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) August 31, 2023
Pre-sales of the film have already eclipsed the US box office of Cats (2019, US$27.1M) and Amsterdam (2022, US$14.9M), two films co-starring the singer. The film is also expected to set a new record for concert films, including Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert (2008, with US$31M opening and US$65.2M gross), Michael Jackson’s This Is It (2009, US$23.2M opening and US$72M gross), and Justin Bieber: Never Say Never (2011, US$29.5M opening, $73M gross).
While the movie is expected to open across 4,000 screens in the US, the film is also seeing a non-traditional release, in that no Hollywood studio is involved in the reported US$20 million production, as cinema chain AMC is handling the release in the US. Reports indicate that Swift’s team had been unable to come to terms with major movie studios for the film’s release, and opted to go direct to AMC, currently the biggest cinema chain in the US, for distribution instead. Sadly, the film is slated to only open in the US, Canada and Mexico and there’s no word if it will be released globally.
According to IndieWire, terms for the film, as well as the surprise announcement, were dictated by Swift’s team and not AMC, which means that studios were not informed and were unaware of the film’s inclusion in the movie release schedule normally shared between studios. According to Puck, the partnership between Swift and AMC would see the singer receive 57% of the film’s box office, with AMC getting the rest. While rates vary, the current business model between studios and cinema operators see studios keep up to 90% of the box office at the start.
This agreement also comes at a time when Hollywood studios are in the midst of the SAG and WGA actors and writers strikes, which has driven movie production to a standstill, and establishes that cinema operators are capable of finding their own content to fill seats. While there are reports of unhappiness that AMC did not share details of the concert movie with studios before the announcement as a sign of good faith, pundits noted that during the COVID pandemic, studios pulled and shifted movie releases towards streaming services from cinemas without informing cinema operators either.
And Hollywood has taken note. Universal Studios is opening The Exorcist: Believer, which was set to premiere that week, one week earlier.
That film’s producer, Jason Blum, founder of Blumhouse Productions even tweeted an acknowledgement with the hashtag #TaylorWins.
Look what you made me do.
The Exorcist: Believer moves to 10/6/23#TaylorWins
— Jason Blum (@jason_blum) August 31, 2023
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