Taylor Swift disregarded Hollywood studios in order to get her upcoming film, The Eras Tour in theaters as soon as possible.
Following tremendous ticket pre-sales online, it's being reported that the upcoming concert film could make up to $150 million opening weekend. Considering Swift's generational fame, the sky is the limit for her nearly 3-hour concert film.
Those who are familiar with the singer and her current journey of re-recording many of her earlier albums will not find her film release strategy surprising.
Taylor Swift Avoids Major Studios
On a recent episode of Matt Belloni's The Town podcast, the entertainment journalist said that Taylor Swift is "bypassing a studio" and made a deal directly with AMC Theaters:
“Taylor Swift did a deal with AMC Theaters. Her father actually negotiated it. Her parents negotiated with the CEO of AMC, Adam Aron. They are taking her concert film directly to her fans via AMC Theaters, bypassing a studio."
Belloni elaborated that a major goal was to "put it in theaters at a reduced price" giving fans who can't afford the in-person concert a chance to experience the show:
"And she gets benefits and she’s doing this for a number of reasons. I think the economics of it are great for her, although they didn’t really do this just for the money. The goal was to put it in theaters at a reduced price, so her fans who could not afford to go to the Eras Tour would have an opportunity to see it in theaters. The prices are less than $20 for adults and $13 for kids."
In addition, Swift's father rejected work with a studio, in part because it's "a pain in the ass" as Belloni puts it.
When looking for a distributor, studios reportedly "wouldn’t commit to releasing right away" and may have to wait until 2025. So Swift's team decided to cut out the middle man and "go directly to AMC:"
"The other reason is dealing with a studio is a pain in the ass. Everything that I have heard about this deal was that Scott Swift, [her] father, went to the studios and said, 'Okay, we have this asset. We paid for this movie ourselves. We’re gonna have a studio partner, someone to distribute it, but make us an offer.' And, one by one, the studios kind of wouldn’t commit to releasing right away, or they were talking about 2025 initially. And they just said, 'You know what, screw it. We’re going to go directly to AMC.'"
Theaters Should Be Thanking Taylor Swift
This also likely is a more beneficial move for theaters, especially AMC having been the company to make a direct deal with Swift. Typically the theater company and distributor split box office earnings, It's unclear what the terms are on this new-age agreement, but considering it's hitting theaters in October of this year, Swift likely isn't being stingy.
For context, as Belloni said, "They didn’t really do this just for the money." The real-life Eras Tour could earn over $2 billion in North America. This film's release is just the cherry on top.
Theaters are certainly thankful, as the fall movie schedule has taken a couple of hits due to the ongoing actors' strike, specifically Dune: Part Two being delayed to 2024.
Now theaters can expect thousands of Swifties rushing to experience this concert film opening weekend, likely buying concessions and giving a major boost to cinemas in mid-October.
In 2018, Taylor Swift: Reputation Stadium Tour was released exclusively on Netflix. Clearly, this version of a concert movie is bigger, bolder, and more fan-pleasing as each era gives everyone something to look forward to.
The Eras Tour opens in theaters on October 13.