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Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour concert film takes up to $97m on US opening

Movie theaters turned into concert venues this weekend as Swifties brought their dance moves and friendship bracelets to multiplexes across the country. The unparalleled enthusiasm helped propel Taylor Swift: the Eras Tour to a massive, first-place debut of between $95m and $97m in North America, AMC Theatres said on Sunday.

It’s easily the biggest opening for a concert film of all time, and, not accounting for inflation, has made more than the $73m Justin Bieber: Never Say Never earned in 2011. In today’s dollars, that would be around $102m. And if it comes in on the higher end of projections when totals are released Monday, it could be the biggest October opening ever. The one to beat is Joker, which launched to $96.2m in 2019.

A unique experiment in distribution, premium pricing, star power and loose movie theater etiquette – more dancing and shouting than Star Wars premiere – have made it an undeniable hit.

Compiled from Swift’s summer shows at southern California’s SoFi Stadium, the film opened in 3,855 North American locations starting with “surprise” Thursday evening previews. Those showtimes helped boost its opening day sum to $39m – the second biggest ever for October, behind Joker’s $39.3m.

Swift, who produced the film, went around the Hollywood studio system to distribute the film, making a deal directly with AMC, the largest exhibition company in the United States. With her 274 million Instagram followers, Swift hardly needed a traditional marketing campaign to get the word out.

Beyoncé made a similar deal with the exhibitor for Renaissance: A Film By Beyoncé, which will open on 1 December. The two superstars posed together at the premiere of The Eras Tour earlier this week in Los Angeles. It was a needed injection of star power with Hollywood actors over 90 days into a strike that has left most red carpets void of glamorous talent and resulted in several high-profile films being pushed to next year.

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The spotlight on Swift has been especially intense lately as a result of her relationship with Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce. The two made separate surprise appearances on Saturday Night Live this weekend and were also photographed holding hands in New York.

The stadium tour, which continues internationally, famously crashed Ticketmaster’s site and re-sale prices became astronomical. Pollstar projects that it will earn some $1.4 billion. The concert film offered fans both 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, at $19.89, which references her birth year and 2014 album, and ran closer to $29 a pop for premium large format screens like IMAX. Even so, they are significantly less than seat at one of the stadium shows.