Can Taylor Swift’s “Eras Tour” concert film save movie theaters?
Taylor Swift’s star power has reached the big screen amid her unprecedentedsuccess, with a movie version of the concert opening in theaters this week across the U.S. and abroad.
“Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour” premiered Thursday, a day ahead of its scheduled release, due to unprecedented demand. Early ticket sales numbers from more than 8,500 theaters globally show it is already on track to become the highest-grossing concert film ever, beating out “Justin Bieber: Never Say Never,” which grossed more than $73 million at the domestic box office. It brought in $29.5 million domestically opening weekend, according to Comscore.
The Swift movie has already raked in $100 million in advance ticket sales across the world, AMC theatres said. It also shattered AMC’s U.S. record for the highest ticket-sales revenue in a single day in under 24 hours, AMC said.
“Clearly we are going to be looking at an astronomical number,” Comscore senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian told CBS MoneyWatch.
Swift relief for a dying industry
The concert film could help revive the movie-going experience at a crucial time for the industry as the rise of at-home streaming has thrashed ticket sales and called into question the viability of the movie theater format in the digital age.
Swift’s movie could dismantle the pandemic-era notion that at-home streaming would make the movie theater experience obsolete.
“Movie theaters were counted out when the pandemic hit and a lot of people thought streaming would take over and the movie theater experience would disappear,” Dergarabedian said. “The Swift concert film is so welcome by the movie theater industry on so many levels, because it creates a very positive image for them.”
Add popcorn and concession stand, merchandise and friendship bracelet sales to the mix and “it’s shaping up to be blockbuster weekend,” Dergarabedian added.
The Swift film is also expected to drum up interest in upcoming movie releases that might not otherwise draw a lot of attention or generate buzz. Swift fans who go to theaters for “Eras” will lay eyes on posters for other films and view trailers from their seats just before they start singing in unison to Swift’s greatest hits.
“There is a halo effect on upcoming movies, so it’s also good for studios that have films coming out in weeks and months ahead,” Dergarabedian said.
Alicia Reese, a vice president and entertainment analyst for Wedbush Securities said she estimates the “Eras” film could gross anywhere from $100 million to $400 million in its opening weekend.
“There are no comparisons. It’s unprecedented, so it’s really hard to estimate,” she told CBS MoneyWatch. “The reason for that is one, because she has such a massive built-in fan base, and two, because it’s hard to estimate the number of repeat visitors who bought presale tickets for opening weekend who are going to go back the next three to four weekends.”
Gap to fill as a result of Hollywood strikes
Music and movie industry executives will be keeping a close eye on the film’s performance, and depending on its success, will seek to replicate the format many times over.
A, and have halted production and could lead to a gap in new television and movie releases next summer.
“Studios and theaters will look to alternative content to do that,” Reese said.
That could include concert movies or recorded comedy shows, which typically debut on streaming platforms like HBO and Netflix.
“But why not movie theaters? They are definitely a possibility,” Reese said.
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