Look what we made her do. With the release of her album Midnights just under a year ago, the announcement of The Eras Tour soon after, nine months of touring and the release of the rerecorded Speak Now (Taylor’s Version), Taylor Swift has accomplished more in a year than most of us could dream to do in a lifetime. And she didn’t stop there — Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour Movie was released on Oct. 13 and has quickly shattered records.
The film premiered at The Grove in Los Angeles on Oct. 11 and earned an estimated $126 million in movie theaters around the world on opening weekend. This makes it the biggest opening weekend ever for a concert film, a record that was previously held by 2011’s Justin Bieber: Never Say Never, which earned $41 million its first weekend in North America and $102 million globally.
This movie was only announced in September, which makes its success even more impressive. The unconventional release announcement caused several films that had been planned to be released on or around Oct. 13 to move their release dates. Tickets cost $19.89 for adults, a price paying tribute to her birth year and album of the same name, and $13.13 for kids under 12 and people over 60, representing her favorite number.
The film was directed by Sam Wrench and combines three of her The Eras Tour performances at SoFi stadium into a nearly three hour long show. It is essentially a film version of the tour seen in person, portraying Swift’s discography in ten different acts, nine for albums and one for miscellaneous surprise songs. Unlike the in-person tour, however, the film did not include the tracks “The Archer,” “Wildest Dreams,” “Invisible String,” “Cardigan” and “‘Tis The Damn Season” and included surprise songs from Aug. 4 and 5, “Our Song” and “You’re On Your Own, Kid.”
Beyond its monetary success, the film has also received high praise from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, 100% of Approved Tomatometer Critics gave this movie a positive review, and 99% of users who were verified ticket purchasers rated it above 3.5 stars.
The concept of a concert film is not new, but by the end of this year we will have gotten Swift’s film and Beyoncé’s Renaissance: A Film by Beyoncé opening on Dec. 1. I see the appeal and the necessity of these films, especially after ticket prices for so many concerts have skyrocketed in recent years. Movie theaters have still been struggling to return to pre-pandemic levels of success, so concert movies like these are sure to help.
The hype surrounding this summer’s Barbenheimer phenomenon (and the experience of dressing in pink to see Barbie) helped set the stage for the success of The Eras Tour film and provided a much needed boost to the film industry, especially after the strikes in Hollywood this year. Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at ComScore, says that Barbenheimer “showed the world how the movie theater as a hub of influence can provide an exponentially stronger footprint in terms of revenue, social media and brand identification. Artists like Swift and Beyoncé live and breathe the communal experience, and that’s what the movie theater is.”
I appreciate Swift’s effort to make the tour as accessible as possible to the general public after the whole debacle with TicketMaster and the expensive prices to see her tour in person. However, as someone who went to the Eras Tour in person, I wasn’t really sure if I needed to see the movie, since I figured it would be essentially the same thing. But despite having seen the tour already, I was still blown away by the movie.
It was a completely different experience from the tour. Of course, there was less excitement, but fans have still been dressing up, taking pictures and singing along. What made it different was the quality of the video, and the close-up views and different angles of Swift. My seats were pretty far away from the stage in the actual concert, so seeing Swift from so close up and in such crisp camera quality completely transformed the experience, reminding me that she is a person too. Seeing her from so far away in the concert made the audience less connected to her, but the film showed every facial expression and movement she made, making her seem more real.
Every little detail shows how seriously Swift has taken turning her tour into a film, and even though sitting in a theater for 2 hours and 48 minutes might sound like an exhausting endeavor, it is a truly entertaining cinematic experience. So, make the friendship bracelets, pull on your blue crewneck and go see The Eras Tour Movie.
Freya Nangle is a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences. She can be reached at [email protected].