July 25, 2024

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How can Taylor Swift change the film industry?

How can Taylor Swift change the film industry?

  • Theaters are no strangers to showing guests concerts, plays and recorded musicals, but Taylor Swift could usher in a new era of event cinema.
  • The concert film Eras Tour is scheduled to open on October 13 at major movie theater chains such as AMC and Cinemark.
  • Interest in unique cinematic experiences and group events is on the rise after Barpenheimer, and Swift’s concert film could take it to a new level.

Taylor Swift pauses between songs during her three-night debut concert at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, in March.

Fort Worth Star-Telegram | Tribune News Service | Getty Images

LOS ANGELES – Taylor Swift changed the music industry. Now she is coming to movies.

The film industry is in a constant state of change. Audience tastes have shifted and Hollywood’s twin strikes have only exacerbated pandemic-related production delays that have left the film calendar littered.

With potential blockbusters fleeing the fall and winter, as a direct result of strike rules preventing top talent from pitching upcoming films, movie theater chains like AMC, Regal and Cinemark are desperate for unique offerings. Even IMAX, which began as a venue for documentaries and educational programmes, will benefit from alternative theatrical content.

“The need has been there for many years, and became even more apparent during the early recovery from the pandemic when audiences started to return, but there just wasn’t enough big screen content ready to be released on a weekly basis,” said Sean Robbins, Senior Analyst at BoxOffice. .com.

Enter SWIFT.

Although her documentaries and pre-concert films have been shown on streaming services in the past, the iconic pop star has chosen to bring her Eras Tour straight to moviegoers this October. The already filmed concert has broken movie theater records and is expected to gross over $100 million during its opening weekend.

Swift is a member of the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, but was granted a waiver by the unions because the concert filmed on the Eras Tour is unscripted and has no associated actors or writers.

The theater industry is no stranger to alternative content. Movie theaters often show recorded concerts, plays, and musicals, as well as live sports from organizations such as the National Football League and the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Then there are screenings of classic movies, anime shows, and live streaming of Dungeons and Dragons games.

But none of them have come anywhere close to generating the excitement surrounding Swift’s upcoming release.

The excitement prompted movie theaters to design specialty popcorn buckets, create fancy cocktails, and even set up tables for making friendship bracelets, It shows that there is a desire to make something bigger and more memorable than a trip to the movies.

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Recently, audiences have been drawn in en masse to see big-budget superhero movies on their opening weekend. The urgency was driven by a need to see what would happen next in the giant tapestry of storytelling and a concern that not seeing it as soon as possible might lead to a spoiler reveal.

Sony and Marvel’s “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” which will be released in late 2021, is one such film. However, few of the superhero films that followed generated the same enthusiasm, likely due to the presence of an abundance of content, much of which was considered lackluster. Disney and Marvel’s “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania,” and DC’s “The Flash” and “Blue Beetle,” did not disappoint at the box office this year.

Then came Barbenheimer.

Warner Bros. Universal’s “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer,” two films with polar opposites in cinematic experiences, opened on the same weekend in July. The combination of the releases thrilled audiences, with millions turning out to movie theaters to watch the double features. Spectators dressed in pink or wearing fedoras led both films to set attendance records. And they still make a lot of money, too. “Barbie” grossed $600 million at the domestic box office, while the historic “Oppenheimer” grossed over $300 million.

After the early days of the pandemic, consumers gravitated more toward out-of-home experiences. With so many streaming options, audiences need a reason to get off their couches beyond just content. For this reason, communal experiences that can only be experienced outside the home are more important than ever for the theater industry.

That’s why, when Swift first revealed that her concert film would be coming to the three major theaters — AMC, Regal and Cinemark — on October 13, dozens of smaller theater chains sought to show the film as well. It’s also why Universal chose to remove “Exorcist: Believer” from the same release date and move it to October 6, killing the short-lived hope of a Barbenheimer-type Exorswift double feature event.

“Real nationwide issuances could have a beneficial effect,” Robbins said. “Even if Taylor Swift proves to set the bar too high, it’s not hard to imagine the potential success of more concerts with superstars like Beyoncé or Adele, major sporting events presented in premium formats, synergistic promotional campaigns, and many other niche releases. Thoughts .”

In a rare move, Swift chose to distribute the film through AMC, rather than her traditional studio partner. It is expected that 43% of ticket revenues will remain with theatres 57% will be split between Swift and AMC. SWIFT is likely to keep a significant portion of that stake, according to industry insiders.

Of course, the theater company would generate a lot more than that in franchise sales, and that might be the real upside of Swift’s movie release. Theater Chair is already promoting collectible popcorn tubs for $14.99 and cups for $11.99.

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AMC, in particular, needs this kind of revenue, as the company continues to spend more on movie licensing costs and theater rentals than it earns on ticket sales and concessions. In fact the company It recently reported earnings during the second quarter This year, having generated a net income of just $8.6 million.

Ultimately, box office analysts expect the film to gross around $400 million during its release. Only “Barbie” and “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” grossed more domestically this year.

The theater industry hopes Swift will revitalize the concert genre, which flourished in the 1960s and 1970s with films such as “Monterey Pop,” “Woodstock” and “The Last Waltz.” And although movies can’t quite replicate the experience of attending a concert, movie tickets are much cheaper.

Tickets for Swift’s Eras Tour are priced from $49 to $450, with VIP packages starting at $199 and going up to $899. However, on the secondary market, many tickets were sold for thousands of dollars each. Tickets for her photo shoot start at $19.89 for adults and $13.13 for children. Tickets for premium format screens like IMAX and Dolby come at a higher cost.

For comparison, average adult ticket prices for regular movie releases in 2023 ranged from $11 to $14 apiece for standard formats.

“Concert films have seen great results over the years, and now based on massive advance sales across the country, it’s clear The Eras Tour will break new ground for this genre of music,” said Michael O’Leary, CEO of the National Music League. theater owners. “We hope this will lead to more concert films hitting theaters in the coming years.”

For the most part, filmed concerts were very limited to the theater—usually, just one night or one weekend. Most appeared on fewer than 1,000 sites, according to Comscore data. For comparison, the wide release counted over 2,000 locations during the opening weekend. Most of the popular features are released in more than 4000 versions.

“In modern times, the traditionally released concert film, which runs for up to a few weeks in theaters, has taken a back seat to the very popular event cinema model which has very limited availability of only a few days or even one night on the screens,” said Paul. Dergarabedian, Senior Media Analyst at comScore: “The big screen.” “Taylor Swift, being a cultural force and a designer of new business models, may have a hand in bringing back the old-fashioned concert movie.”

Swift’s concert film seems destined to overtake the current theatrical concert film record holder. Miley Cyrus’ concert film “Best of Both Worlds” grossed $31.1 million during its opening weekend in 2008, appearing in about 680 locations. It ultimately earned $70 million globally in 15 weeks, according to Comscore data.

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Taylor Swift performs in Cincinnati, Ohio, on June 30, 2023, during her Eras Tour.

Taylor Hill / TASS23 | Getty Images Entertainment | Getty Images

The total number of theaters offering Swift’s Eras Tour won’t be available until about a week before the film’s release date. However, box office analysts expect it to be considered a wide release and could have as many spots as a blockbuster feature.

There is precedent for such a large number of theaters and a long run of eight weeks. It is worth noting that Justin Bieber’s film “Never Say Never” was released in 3,000 cinemas in early 2011 and ran for 13 weeks. It reached $99 million worldwide. Likewise, the Michael Jackson documentary and concert film “This Is It” was released in 3,400 theaters in 2009 and grossed $263.5 million worldwide in five weeks.

“We pitched Metallica and it sold out very quickly,” said Michael Kosterman, CEO of Alamo Drafthouse. “Obviously we’ve done a lot of K-pop stuff in the past and it sold out super fast. I think what Taylor Swift would do is kind of open the question, well does this have to be more than just a one night stand on the weekend?”

Of course, most would concede that Swift is an anomaly in the industry and that her box office success may not be easy to replicate.

“Lest anyone think this is a feat that can be easily replicated, you must first understand that Swift operates a unique world of her own, and that this makes the future successes of other artists in this field a more elusive goal than one might think,” Dergarabedian said.

However, interest in unique cinematic experiences and group events is growing, and Swift’s concert film may be just the beginning.

“I’ve always said, and I’ve been in the business for over 40 years, that Hollywood is a copycat industry,” said Ray Nutt, CEO of Fathom Events.

Fathom has long brought entertainment events such as performances from the Metropolitan Opera, comedy shows and sports to movie theaters. It also schedules film screenings around their release anniversaries as well as genre-based screenings for religious audiences, anime fans, and horror junkies.

The company is scheduled to bring a filmed version of Sara Bareilles’ Broadway hit “Waitress” to theaters in December.

“People are looking for different things to go to theaters for,” Knott said.

Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal and CNBC. NBCUniversal distributed “Oppenheimer”.