Taylor Swift's 'The Eras Tour' Outshines All-Time Record For Concert Movie Debut

The documentary might have also snatched biggest October opening from 2019's "Joker," according to early box office estimates.

Movie theaters turned into concert venues this weekend as Swifties brought their dance moves and friendship bracelets to multiplexes across the country.

The unparalleled enthusiasm helped propel “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour” to a massive, first place debut between $95 million and $97 million in North America, AMC Theatres said Sunday.

It’s easily the biggest opening for a concert film of all time, and, not accounting for inflation, has made more than the $73 million “Justin Bieber: Never Say Never” earned in 2011. In today’s dollars, that would be around $102 million. And if it comes in on the higher end of projections when totals are released Monday, it could be the biggest October opening ever. The one to beat is “Joker,” which launched to $96.2 million in 2019.

A unique experiment in distribution, premium pricing, star power and loose movie theater etiquette—more dancing and shouting than Star Wars premiere—have made it an undeniable hit.

Compiled from Swift’s summer shows at Southern California’s SoFi Stadium, the film opened in 3,855 North American locations starting with “surprise” Thursday evening previews. Those showtimes helped boost its opening day sum to $39 million – the second biggest ever for October, behind “Joker’s” $39.3 million.

Taylor Swift attends "Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour" world premiere on October 11, 2023. This weekend, the film squashed Justin Bieber's record for biggest concert movie debut by more than $20 million.
Taylor Swift attends "Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour" world premiere on October 11, 2023. This weekend, the film squashed Justin Bieber's record for biggest concert movie debut by more than $20 million.
Matt Winkelmeyer via Getty Images

Swift, who produced the film, went around the Hollywood studio system to distribute the film, making a deal directly with AMC, the largest exhibition company in the United States. With her 274 million Instagram followers, Swift hardly needed a traditional marketing campaign to get the word out.

Beyoncé made a similar deal with the exhibitor for “ Renaissance: A Film By Beyoncé, ” which will open on Dec. 1. The two superstars posed together at the premiere of “The Eras Tour” earlier this week in Los Angeles.

“The Eras Tour,” directed by Sam Wrench, is not just playing on AMC screens either. The company, based in Leawood, Kansas, worked with sub-distribution partners Variance Films, Trafalgar Releasing, Cinepolis and Cineplex to show the film in more than 8,500 movie theatres globally in 100 countries.

Elizabeth Frank, the executive vice president of worldwide programming and chief content officer for AMC Theatres, said in a statement that they are grateful to Taylor Swift.

“Her spectacular performance delighted fans, who dressed up and danced through the film,” Frank said. “With tremendous recommendations and fans buying tickets to see this concert film several times, we anticipate ‘Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour’ concert film playing to big audiences for weeks to come.”

The stadium tour, which continues internationally, famously crashed Ticketmaster’s site and re-sale prices became astronomical. Pollstar projects that it will earn some $1.4 billion. The concert film offered fans both better seats and a much more affordable way to see the show for the first or fifth time. Prices are higher than the national average, at $19.89, which references her birth year and 2014 album, and ran closer to $29 a pop for premium large format screens like IMAX. Even so, they are significantly less than seat at one of the stadium shows.

Showtimes are also more limited than a standard Hollywood blockbuster, but AMC is guaranteeing at least four a day on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays at all AMC locations in the U.S. Many locations also specified that there are no refunds or exchanges. And fans will have to wait a while for “The Eras Tour” to be available on streaming — part of the AMC deal was a 13-week exclusive theatrical run.

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