Taylor Swift, the legendary pop icon, is set to achieve superhero-level success at the box office with the release of her Eras Tour concert film in domestic movie theaters this October. Since the announcement of the film’s release, tickets have been selling rapidly, prompting both big and small theaters to add additional showtimes to meet the growing demand. Industry experts are not holding back in their predictions, with many forecasting that Swift’s big screen debut will surpass the $100 million mark during its opening weekend.
According to Shawn Robbins, the chief analyst at BoxOffice.com, it is still early days for such a highly unique release. However, Robbins believes that achieving a nine-digit opening weekend is very attainable, especially if theaters continue to grow their capacity by adding more showtimes and if the promotion for the film intensifies to attract a wider audience beyond Swift’s devoted fan base. As part of a genuine theatrical event, many theaters have already promised unique in-cinema experiences, such as the Warehouse Cinemas chain’s plan to offer a cotton candy drink with a glitter rim and popcorn with edible glitter for fans who dress up for the movie.
At its current pace, Robbins wouldn’t be surprised if the film breaks the fourth-quarter opening record. Several theaters have hinted at providing exclusive experiences to enhance the cinematic viewing, further fueling anticipation for the release. The film’s buzz has reached such heights that it might deliver the best opening of any film released in the fourth quarter, surpassing previous records set by blockbuster movies. Notable examples include “Barbie” (Warner Bros.) with an opening weekend of $162 million, “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” (Universal) with $146.3 million, “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” (Sony) with $120.6 million, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” (Disney) with $118.4 million, and “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” (Disney) with $106.1 million, according to data from Comscore.
The surprise announcement of Taylor Swift’s concert film comes during a time when several big-budget releases have been delayed due to Hollywood labor strikes. Movies like “Dune: Part Two,” “Kraven the Hunter,” and the “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” sequel have all been pushed back to 2024, leaving a void in the release calendar. However, upcoming films like Warner Bros.’ “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom,” the “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” prequel “Wonka,” and Disney and Marvel Studios’ “The Marvels” are still slated for 2023.
What sets Swift’s concert film apart is its departure from the traditional studio distribution model. Instead of working through a major studio, the film will be distributed directly by AMC Entertainment, the world’s largest movie chain. In return for distribution, AMC is expected to receive a 5% to 6% fee. Furthermore, the pricing strategy for tickets deviates from the norm, with base prices starting at $19.89 for adults and $13.13 for children, reflecting Swift’s birth year and her lucky number 13. Premium format screens, such as IMAX and Dolby, come with a higher price tag.
The overwhelming response to the film’s release and the subsequent ticket frenzy has pushed box office projections to new heights. This success could potentially revolutionize the movie theater industry by introducing special events and nontraditional content to boost theater revenues. Paul Dergarabedian, a senior media analyst at Comscore, believes that the film’s release has inaugurated a new model for theaters that have been affected by the delays caused by labor strikes. Swift’s concert film is positioned to surpass the current record holder for a theatrical concert film, Miley Cyrus’ “Best of Both Worlds,” which grossed $31.1 million during its opening weekend in 2008 and accumulated $70 million globally, according to Comscore data.
A Testament to Taylor’s Star Power
No matter where the final box office numbers land, there is no denying that Eras is already a resounding success and a welcome addition to the theatrical exhibition industry. Taylor Swift’s remarkable following and business acumen shine through, cementing her dominance over the pop culture landscape. As the year unfolds, she continues to captivate audiences and break barriers in both music and film, leaving an indelible mark on the industry.