Taylor Swift performs onstage during her The Eras Tour at Lumen Field in Seattle, July 22, 2023.
Mat Hayward/tas23 | Getty Images Entertainment | Getty Images
Taylor Swift is already a superstar. Now, she’s about to put up superhero-style numbers at movie theaters.
Days after the pop icon announced her Eras Tour concert film would come to domestic movie theaters in October, tickets have been selling fast. The flurry of presales have led theaters big and small to add additional showtimes to meet demand.
Box office analysts aren’t being conservative about their opening weekend expectations. Many foresee Swift’s big screen experience to top $100 million during its debut.
“It is still very early days for such a highly unique release,” said Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at BoxOffice.com. “That said, nine digits looks very attainable for opening weekend if capacity continues to grow with additional theaters and showtimes, and especially if promotion ramps up more in the next few weeks to attract the non-Swifties as part of a true theatrical event.”
At its current pace, Robbins said he wouldn’t be surprised to see the film deliver the best opening of any film released in the fourth quarter, especially as many theaters have teased that they will have unique in-cinema experiences just for the occasion. The Warehouse Cinemas chain, for example, plans to roll out a cotton candy drink with a glitter rim — available as a cocktail and a nonalcoholic mocktail — and popcorn with edible glitter for fans who dress up for the movie.
$100 million opening weekends in 2023
- “Barbie” (Warner Bros.) – $162 million
- “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” (Universal) – $146.3 million
- “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” (Sony) – $120.6 million
- “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” (Disney) – $118.4 million
- “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” (Disney) – $106.1 million
The surprise movie announcement comes at a time when several big-budget features are fleeing the release calendar. Warner Bros. and Legendary Entertainment’s “Dune: Part Two,” plus Sony’s “Kraven the Hunter” and the “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” sequel have all departed for 2024 amid dual Hollywood labor strikes.
Warner Bros.’ DC Comics sequel “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” prequel “Wonka,” alongside Disney and Marvel Studios’ “The Marvels,” are still on the slate for 2023.
The film is bypassing the traditional studio system model and will be distributed directly by AMC Entertainment. The largest movie chain in the world is expected to pick up a 5% to 6% distribution fee.
Additionally, tickets for the film are priced higher than typical general admission seats. Base prices start at $19.89 for adults and $13.13 for kids. The numbers reflect Swift’s birth year and her lucky number 13. Tickets for premium format screens such as IMAX and Dolby come at a higher cost.
The film is set to run Thursday through Sunday until Nov. 5, although some have speculated that high box office numbers could prolong its stay in theaters.
“The overwhelming response to news of the movie’s release and subsequent ticket buying frenzy has taken the box office projections to the next level and could create a new model for how to boost movie theater revenues with special events and nontraditional filmed content,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore.
Swift’s concert film seems destined to overtake the current record holder for a theatrical concert film. Miley Cyrus’ “Best of Both Worlds” concert film tallied $31.1 million during its opening weekend back in 2008. It ultimately snared $70 million globally, according to Comscore data.
“No matter where things land, Eras is already a thunderous success and a welcome addition for theatrical exhibition who have been at the mercy of Hollywood’s strike-induced delays of other tentpole films previously slated for the coming months,” Robbins said. It’s a shining example of Taylor’s remarkable following and her business acumen in a year which she’s already dominated the pop culture landscape.
Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal and CNBC. NBCUniversal is the distributor of “The Super Mario Bros. Movie.”