Taylor Swift, the global pop superstar, has made history with her Eras Tour film, which is being hailed as a milestone moment in cinema history by IMAX CEO Richard Gelfond. The film, which captures the live concert experience of Swift’s sold-out tour spanning 17 years of her award-winning musical career, has generated unprecedented demand and excitement among fans and theater chains alike.
A box office event of the fall
The film debuted on Wednesday night in Los Angeles to rave reviews before it hits more theaters on Thursday for early-access showings and Friday for its wider release. The film will debut on at least 625 IMAX screens in 45 markets around the world, including 377 domestic screens. It will also screen at all AMC and Cinemark theaters in the US.
IMAX, which is accounting for a double-digit percentage of opening weekend pre-sales, said more than 350 shows are already sold out with well over $100 million in advanced ticket sales. “We’ve seen demand like this, but we’ve seen it for big blockbuster movies,” Gelfond told Yahoo Finance Live on Thursday. “I don’t think there’s ever been a concert film like this ever before.”
The film comes at a critical time for theaters as the nearly five-month-long writers strike caused multiple disruptions to the release schedule. Most notably, Warner Bros.’ Dune sequel was delayed to March 2024 after it was originally scheduled for November 2023. Other studios have also reshuffled their respective programming with Hollywood actors still on the picket lines.
A cultural juggernaut
Taylor Swift is widely regarded as one of the most influential and successful artists of all time, with over 300 million records sold worldwide and 11 Grammy Awards to her name. Her Eras Tour, which ran from June to October 2023, was a massive spectacle that featured songs from all nine of her studio albums, from her self-titled debut in 2006 to her surprise releases Folklore and Evermore in 2020.
The tour was praised by critics and fans alike for its production value, musical diversity, and emotional resonance. Ben Sisario of The New York Times called it “a cultural juggernaut” that showcased Swift’s evolution as an artist and a person. The tour also broke several records, including the highest-grossing US tour by a female artist and the highest-attended tour in US history.
The film, directed by Swift herself, aims to recreate the magic of the tour for millions of fans who could not attend the live shows due to limited capacity or travel restrictions amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The film also features behind-the-scenes footage, interviews, and exclusive performances that were not part of the tour.
A once-in-a-lifetime experience
Fans of Taylor Swift have expressed their excitement and gratitude for the film on social media, using hashtags such as #TSTheErasTourFilm and #ThankYouTaylor. Many have also shared their plans to watch the film multiple times in different formats, such as IMAX and Dolby Cinema, to enjoy the full cinematic experience.
The film has also received positive feedback from industry experts and celebrities, who have praised Swift’s vision, talent, and impact. Tim Richards, chief executive and founder of Vue International, said: “As part of our growing programme of event cinema, we are delighted to be screening Taylor Swift’s sold-out Eras tour. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for fans to see their idol on the big screen in stunning high definition and incredible surround sound.”
Gelfond also expressed his admiration for Swift and her film, saying: “I think Taylor is such a unicorn and a special talent. This concert had so much publicity behind it. So many people couldn’t see it [so] there was pent-up demand. It’s definitely a milestone in the history of cinema in terms of excitement around a concert movie.”
He added: “The question is, ‘will we ever see it again?’ I don’t know the answer to that.”