Movies

‘Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour’ Writes Her Name As No. 7 In Deadline’s 2023 Most Valuable Blockbuster Tournament

Deadline’s Most Valuable Blockbuster tournament is back. While studios during Covid wildly embraced the theatrical day-and-date model when cinemas were closed, they soon realized there’s nothing more profitable than a theatrical release and the downstreams that come with it. If anything, theatrical is the advertisement for a movie’s longevity in subsequent home entertainment windows. Entering the conversation in 2023 were the streamers, such as Apple, who have also realized the necessity of theatrical to eventize their movies. The financial data pulled together here for Deadline’s Most Valuable Blockbuster Tournament is culled by seasoned and trusted sources.

THE FILM

Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour
AMC Entertainment

After Covid shut down AMC and the rest of the globe’s multiplexes and the actors strike ratcheted down the box office, you could say that the No. 1 exhibitor was taking its fate into its own hands with Taylor Swift: The Era’s Tour. However, it has Scott Swift, Taylor Swift’s father, to thank. He reportedly made the call to AMC CEO Adam Aron to sidestep studios and gain more cash in taking his daughter’s movie from her $1 billion-plus-selling, sold-out concert tour directly to AMC. Why have a studio walk away with a ton of cash and spend tens of millions in marketing when Swift with a then-near-400 million social media followers is the best form of advertisement? She tweeted a few times to promote the movie, and showed up at her boyfriend Travis Kelce’s Kansas City Chiefs games to drum up her $15M Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour concert film as a must-see. The movie also received a SAG-AFTRA waiver, which allowed the pop star to show up at her own Los Angeles world premiere and do publicity. The result: $100M in global advance ticket sales. AMC, to avoid antitrust issues, hired Gotham-based distributor Variance Films to book cinemas across the nation, and Trafalgar to handle the overseas release. Much to the chagrin of the studios, who had their thing to say about Aron’s entry into the distribution business, they all started moving their movies away (i.e., Universal’s The Exorcist reboot, Lionsgate’s Ordinary Angels) from Eras Tour and its arrival on the calendar October 13. Swift cleverly tailored her marketing to fans, releasing the movie on a date that reps her lucky number, with tickets priced at $13.13 for children and seniors. Initially she wasn’t going to preview the movie, looking to open hard on 10/13. At the last minute, during the week of release, Swift changed her mind and opted for last-minute Thursday previews (they only yielded $2.8M).

THE BOX SCORE

THE BOTTOM LINE

Projections were wild for Eras Tour as most Swifties don’t necessarily go to the movies. But at $123M worldwide and $93.2M, the pic repped the biggest opening ever for a concert film, and at the domestic box office it was the second-biggest opening for the month of October after The Joker ($96.2M). AMC certainly reaped the spoils as most moviegoers thought the only place to see Eras Tour was in an AMC theater; the circuit commanded 41% of the gross during the Sam Wrench-directed title’s opening weekend (typically the chain averages 22%-25% of a tentpole’s opening weekend on average). Still, between Eras Tour and Five Nights at Freddy’s, there was a lot of box office cash during a dry period with the ongoing actors strike. Terms of AMC’s deals were reportedly 43% of the gross staying with movie theaters, and 57% shared between the Swifts and AMC as distributor with Variance and Trafalgar receiving a distribution fee. Global marketing is figured at $55M. The Swifts sold the movie to Disney+ for a reported $75M, tossing aside offers from Netflix and Universal, as shown above; the concert pic was the most-viewed ever on the service for the genre with 4.6M views (the digital release hit on Swift’s birthday, December 13). In each home window, Swift offered more and more to fans with the digital release, via Universal, including three bonus songs not seen in the theatrical cut (“Wildest Dreams,” “The Archer” and “Long Live”), while the Disney+ version counted five new songs. The success of the concert movies led AMC to land Renaissance: A Film by Beyoncé, that songstress’ concert movie; it gave it a release the first weekend in December, and it grossed just $45M worldwide. No bother, but Beyoncé was never expected to have the same impact as Swift. Wall Street sources snarked that AMC wasn’t only making 4% of the box office from its concert films, though Aron has balked at that number. He told Deadline at CinemaCon: “We look at the concert films as the sum of our distribution and exhibition profits combined; they were extremely profitable.” It’s definitely a new side business for AMC, with the world’s No. 1 theater chain tapping Fandango vet Stephanie Terifay as VP Distribution recently to engage the music industry. Aron also told us, “We’re talking to other world-class [performing] artists about having more concert films.”

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