Taylor Swift Takes On Hollywood
Wednesday, October 4, 2023
She already rules music, so now it's on to Tinseltown: Taylor Swift's concert documentary is poised to dominate the fall movie season, challenging the hegemony of film studios and consecrating her business empire.
Swift is taking a break from her wildly popular tour that began in March -- performances will resume in November and run late into next year.
But in the meantime, the 33-year-old is hitting the silver screen: "Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour" is slated for release on October 13, and has already broken the record for pre-sales in the United States in one day, with $37 million in revenue.
The film could exceed $100 million in its opening weekend, said Jeff Bock, an analyst for box office tracker Exhibitor Relations.
"I think we could be talking about the biggest film of the fall season, which is pretty incredible," he told AFP -- even if, for now, only screenings in the United States are on the books.
Swift opted for an unconventional release, announcing it less than two months before its premiere and directly working with the theater giant AMC, while bypassing the traditional film studios.
And in a sign that Hollywood -- which is embroiled in prolonged twin strikes by actors and writers -- fears Swift's release, studios have postponed the opening screenings of several films that fall around the same dates, notably that of "The Exorcist: Believer."
According to the specialist news outlet Puck, the budget of Swift's film fell between $10-20 million.
She will share 57 percent of ticket sales with AMC, says Billboard, a similar proportion to what studios would normally receive. The remainder would go to theaters, under the deal.
"I don't know an artist today with that kind of leverage," said Ralph Jaccodine, a professor at the Berklee College of Music.
The Eras Tour currently boasts 146 dates, and some analysts anticipate it will cross the symbolic $1 billion mark, a feat never yet achieved.
Before her tour and film, Swift garnered significant attention -- and found resounding success -- by re-recording her first six albums in a bid to control their master rights.
The power move came in the wake of public sparring with industry mogul Scooter Braun, her one-time manager whose company had purchased her previous label and thereby gained a majority stake in her early work.
He later sold Swift's master rights to a private equity company.
The situation left Swift publicly incensed: "I just feel that artists should own their work," she said in 2019.