Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour is a 2023 American concert film documenting the Eras Tour, the 2023–2024 concert tour by singer-songwriter Taylor Swift. Directed by Sam Wrench, produced by Swift and distributed by AMC Theatres in the United States, the film is scheduled for theatrical release in Canada, Mexico, and the US on October 13, 2023.
In an unconventional move, Swift, bypassed major film studios and directly negotiated with AMC, Regal, and Cinemark Theatres to distribute the film, which was further approved for promotion and release by SAG-AFTRA despite the ongoing strike as the production met the union’s stipulations. Following the film’s announcement, other films that were set for release on October 13, such as The Exorcist: Believer, Ordinary Angels and What Happens Later, moved their release dates. The Eras Tour amassed a record $37 million in revenue on the first day of ticket presales in the US.
The Eras Tour is the sixth headlining concert tour by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift. It began in Glendale, Arizona, on March 17, 2023. The show spans over three hours, with a set list of 44 songs divided into 10 distinct acts that conceptually portray Swift’s ten studio albums. The tour was a wide commercial success and received unanimous critical acclaim. It became a cultural and economic phenomenon, bolstered by unprecedented ticket demand and fan frenzy globally.
The Eras Tour was directed by Sam Wrench, who previously directed Billie Eilish: Live at the O2 and Lizzo: Live in Concert, and recorded at the Los Angeles shows of the tour in August 2023, at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California. The film was produced by Swift’s in-house production company, Taylor Swift Productions, without the involvement of a major film studio, and reportedly cost between $10 million and $20 million. The film was able to be produced, released, and promoted amidst the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike because the SAG-AFTRA had approved The Eras Tour as a non-AMPTP production that “[met] the same standards the unions are seeking in their negotiations with the studios”. Newsweek explained that Swift was able to reduce expenses by forgoing major studios, a decision that “has the potential to rewrite the rules of movie distribution, with pundits already asking who might be next to follow in Swift’s footsteps”.
The Eras Tour will receive a theatrical release in the United States, Canada, and Mexico for four consecutive weekends beginning on October 13, 2023, a possible reference to Swift’s lucky number, 13. Swift first announced that the film would be released to North America on Good Morning America and through her social media accounts on August 31, 2023. A film trailer premiered alongside the announcement, featuring her 2023 single “Cruel Summer”. Ticket prices for standard screens in the US were set to $19.89 for adults, a reference to her upcoming re-recorded album 1989 (Taylor’s Version) scheduled to be released on October 27, and $13.13 for children and seniors, with upcharges for premium large format showings being applied based off the specialized ticket pricing. The film is expected to open on over 4,000 screens. Variety noted, the film’s four-weekend theatrical run and wide North American release was “far from the kind of one- or two-night special engagement that music fans have become used to with filmed concert experiences in cinemas”.
AMC Theatres served as both primary distributor and exhibitor of the film in the US, screening it a minimum of four times per day from Thursday through Sunday each week of its theatrical run. Tickets, which were also available online via Fandango, went on sale on August 31, with options for IMAX and Dolby Cinema viewings. Each initial purchase included a free poster, and select locations also advertised special tour-themed popcorn and drink containers. In anticipation of high demand and in light of the 2022 Ticketmaster controversy, AMC upgraded its systems five times its original capacity and temporarily halted online ticket sales for most of its other films; nonetheless, its mobile app crashed shortly after the on-sale began. Additional screenings will be held at Regal, Cinemark, Cineplex, Cinépolis, and other locations in the three countries, marking the first time AMC has distributed a film to unaffiliated theaters. AMC hired Variance Films to assist with bookings at non-AMC and Cinemark locations.
Swift secretively negotiated with AMC for the film. According to IndieWire, the terms of distribution and financing were dictated by Swift and her team rather than AMC. The fixed pricing model and dishonoring of theater loyalty programs were considered highly unconventional and a breach of industry norms. No exhibitors or distributors except AMC and Cinemark were aware of the announcement until the morning of Swift and AMC’s press releases, frustrating executives; film distributors are expected to inform each other of their upcoming release schedules as a gesture of good faith. Puck journalist Matthew Belloni reported that “disappointing” talks with major film studios led Swift and her parents to instead negotiate a distribution deal directly with AMC CEO Adam Aron and subsequently Cinemark Theatres. As part of the deal, Swift and AMC would receive 57% of the film’s box office profits, with the remaining 43% going to other theaters. Additionally, theaters would be able to retain all concession revenue and screen the film for up to 26 weeks, although Swift can distribute it to streaming platforms after 13 weeks. Collider opined that by successfully negotiating her own deal and proving its profitability, Swift “sent a clear message to the studios that multiplexes can find programming without their help, potentially changing the dynamics of cinema distribution.” Billboard and Puck also noted that the “unusual deal” could influence AMC and other exhibitors to expand their distribution operations to include other major concert films.
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