Taylor Swift's 'The Eras Tour' No. 1 at the Box Office, Aiming for 'Joker' Film Record
Movie theaters turned into concert halls this weekend as Swifties brought their dance moves and friendship bracelets to multiplexes across the country. Unparalleled enthusiasm helped propel “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour” to a massive No. 1 debut in North America, AMC Theaters said Sunday.
It's easily the biggest concert film opening of all time and, without accounting for inflation, it has grossed more than the $73 million that "Justin Bieber: Never Say Never" earned in 2011. In today's dollars, that would be about $102 million. And if it lands at the high end of projections when totals are released Monday, it could be the biggest October opening in history. The one to beat is “Joker,” which launched to $96.2 million in 2019.
A unique experiment in distribution , high prices, star power and relaxed movie etiquette (more dancing and screaming than a Star Wars premiere) have made it an undeniable success. Compiled from Swift's summer shows at Southern California's SoFi Stadium, the film opened in 3,855 North American locations beginning with “surprise” previews Thursday night. Those times helped boost its opening-day haul to $39 million, the second-most ever in October, behind “Joker’s” $39.3 million.
Internationally, it is estimated that he has earned between $31 and $33 million, bringing his global total to between $126 and $130 million.
“This is a phenomenal number,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore. "To have a blockbuster-style opening weekend for a concert film is unprecedented."
Swift, who produced the film, scoured the Hollywood studio system to distribute the film and struck a deal directly with AMC, America's largest exhibition company. With her 274 million followers on Instagram, Swift barely needed a traditional marketing campaign to spread the word.
Beyoncé made a similar deal with the exhibitor of “ Renaissance: A Beyoncé Movie ”, which will be released on December 1. The two superstars posed together at the premiere of “The Eras Tour” earlier this week in Los Angeles. It was a necessary injection of star power among Hollywood actors after 90 days of a strike which has left most red carpets empty of glamorous talent and resulted in several high-profile films being postponed to next year.
“The Eras Tour,” directed by Sam Wrench, isn’t just playing on AMC screens, either. The company, based in Leawood, Kansas, worked with sub-distribution partners Variance Films, Trafalgar Releasing, Cinepolis and Cineplex to screen the film in more than 8,500 theaters in 100 countries around the world.
The attention on Swift has been especially intense lately as a result of her relationship with the tight end Kansas City Chiefs, Travis Kelce. The two made separate surprise appearances on “Saturday Night Live” this weekend and were also photographed holding hands in New York.
This led to some hyperbolic projections over the weekend, with some analysts predicting that “The Eras Tour” could gross more than $125 million. Dergarabedian said it's common for outsized expectations to be placed on massive brands like Swift. There is also no precedent for something like “The Eras Tour” and a celebrity of Swift's stature.
"The laws of gravity don't apply to Taylor Swift," Dergarabedian said.
The film did well with both the critics as with audiences, who gave it an A+ CinemaScore, a metric that typically indicates that a film will continue to perform well after its opening weekend.
Elizabeth Frank, executive vice president of global programming and chief content officer at AMC Theatres, said in a statement that they are grateful to Taylor Swift.
"His spectacular performance delighted the fans, who dressed up and danced throughout the film," said Frank. "With tremendous recommendations and fans purchasing tickets to see this concert film multiple times, we anticipate that the 'Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour' concert film will be screened to large audiences in the coming weeks."
The stadium tour, which continues internationally, crashed the Ticketmaster site and resale prices became astronomical. Pollstar projects that he will earn about $1.4 billion. The concert film offered fans better seats and a much more affordable way to see the show for the first or fifth time. Prices are higher than the national average, $19.89, referencing his birth year and the 2014 album, and are closer to $29 each for premium large-format screens like IMAX. Even so, they are considerably less than the seats for one of the stadium shows.
Showtimes are also more limited than a standard Hollywood blockbuster, but AMC guarantees at least four per day on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at all AMC locations in the US. Many locations also specified that there are no refunds or exchanges. And fans will have to wait a while for “The Eras Tour” to be available to stream; Part of the deal with AMC was a 13-week exclusive theatrical run.
Michael O'Leary, executive director of the National Association of Theater Owners, said in a statement that the moment was "another historic weekend for movie theaters."
"This year has been marked by unprecedented experiences for movie lovers in theaters across the country," O'Leary continued in a statement. "The debut of 'Eras Tour' demonstrates, once again, that fans are eager to share other experiences in a communal way, with theater owners working creatively to create memorable moments in their theaters."
O'Leary said a survey of 6,000 people by his organization and The Cinema Foundation found that 72% want to see more concert movies on the big screen.
“The Eras Tour” accounted for more than 70% of the weekend's total box office grosses. “The Exorcist: Believer” came in a distant second in its second weekend with $11 million, followed by the movie “Paw Patrol” in third place with $7 million. Rounding out the top five were “Saw X” with $5.7 million and “The Creator” with $4.3 million.
"This is great news for movie theaters," Dergarabedian said. “'The Eras Tour' wasn't even on our radar in mid-August. “If you take that out of the equation, it would have been a totally different weekend.”
Estimated ticket sales from Friday to Sunday at theaters in the United States and Canada, according to Comscore. Final national figures will be published on Monday.
1. “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour”, between 95 and 97 million dollars.
2. “The Exorcist: Believer”, $11 million.
3. “Paw Patrol: The Mighty Movie,” $7 million.
4. “Saw X,” $5.7 million.
5. “The Creator”, $4.3 million.
6. “A Haunting in Venice,” $2.1 million.
7. “The Blind”, $2 million.
8. “The Nun II”, $1.6 million.
9. “The Equalizer 3”, $960,000.
10. “Dumb money”, $920,000.
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