Looking to cap off a long Tuesday in the office by rocking out during a screening of Taylor Swift’s “The Eras Tour” concert film? Well, you may be out of luck.
The cinematic rendering of Swift’s epic stadium tour is only playing in theaters on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. This unconventional scheduling (most films are available on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, as well) may be chalked up to the unique nature of “The Eras Tour,” which is designed to feel more like a concert and less like a movie. “Eras attire, friendship bracelets, singing and dancing encouraged,” Swift told her fans.
By restricting showtimes to the weekends, Team Swift hopes there’s a better chance that audiences will be able to watch the concert extravaganza with a packed crowd rather than in the half-empty auditoriums that usually greet midweek moviegoers. In order to offset the reduced showtimes, exhibitors are trying to schedule as many screenings as they can comfortably stack in their multiplexes from Thursdays through Sundays.
Although this makes the movie’s box office trajectory difficult to predict, “The Eras Tour” is already off to a dazzling start in theaters. It has collected $92.8 million in North America and $123.5 million globally in its opening weekend to land the biggest debut of all time for a concert film.
Beyond the unorthodox showtimes, Swift put her own spin on theatrical distribution by spending minimal marketing dollars and commanding premium prices. Swift set the prices at $19.89, in reference to her birth year and 2014 album, for adults and $13.13, alluding to her lucky number, for children and seniors. These numerically loaded fees, which are much higher than the nation’s average ticket price, may counter the lack of midweek screenings.
“We’re going to assume the box office will double from here, but there’s no precedent for this,” says David A. Gross, who runs the movie consulting firm Franchise Entertainment Research. “We’re in uncharted territory.”
Swift also shook up the exhibition industry by partnering directly with AMC Theatres, the world’s largest cinema chain, to unspool “The Eras Tour” in theaters rather than a major studio. The pop star, who self-produced the film, gets to take home about 57% of ticket sales, with theaters keeping the remaining revenues and AMC taking a small distribution fee. After its theatrical run, Swift can carve out a separate deal to bring the concert film to the small screen.
Until then, if you need your Swift fix on a Tuesday, there’s always “Reputation Stadium Tour” currently streaming on Netflix.