In the lead-up to the release of Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour concert film, box office analysts eagerly anticipated blockbuster-level opening weekend figures. Swift did not disappoint.
While the pop sensation fell just short of the $100 million milestone, domestic ticket sales still soared to over $95 million, according to AMC Entertainment, the film’s distributor. AMC Entertainment provided a weekend revenue estimate ranging from $95 million to $97 million, with an official figure expected on Monday once all ticket sales are tabulated.
Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at BoxOffice.com, praised the film’s debut as an undeniable success, considering the inherent challenges of predicting its performance. Robbins commented, “Swift, her devoted fanbase, and the entire theatrical exhibition industry have much to celebrate with these results.”
Swift’s Eras Tour film quickly shattered records, securing its position as the highest-grossing domestic concert film release, surpassing the 2011 release of Justin Bieber’s “Never Say Never,” which grossed $73 million during its entire theatrical run in just one weekend. It also outperformed Miley Cyrus’s “Best of Both Worlds,” which opened with $31.1 million in 2008.
Notably, Swift’s Eras Tour film boasts the widest release of any concert film in history, debuting in more than 3,850 domestic locations.
Monday’s official tally will reveal whether Swift managed to claim the highest October opening, currently held by 2019’s “The Joker” at $96.2 million and whether it ranks as the sixth or seventh-highest opening of 2023. For context, Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” grossed $95.6 million during its May release.
There’s a possibility that positive word-of-mouth and Swift’s devoted fanbase could boost Sunday’s ticket sales, inching closer to the coveted $100 million mark. Shawn Robbins pointed out that forecasting was challenging due to various factors, including ticket prices, fan presales, and traditional marketing efforts.
Initial expectations suggested Swift might rake in between $40 million and $60 million on Friday, with a potential weekend total as high as $150 million. The film did fall slightly short of the forecast, earning $39 million on Friday, including $2.8 million from last-minute Thursday night previews announced less than 24 hours before showtime.
Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore, noted that Swift’s reputation for excitement and the unique nature of the release contributed to inflated expectations of a $100 million-plus weekend. Nevertheless, he emphasized the significance of the film’s box office achievement.
An impressive 60% of weekend tickets were sold in advance, a remarkable rate according to data from EntTelligence. This figure far exceeded the typical 40% advance sales seen for major film releases. Approximately 4.8 million viewers attended the film over the weekend, with an average ticket price of $20.75, and nearly 80% of the audience was female.
While international box office figures were not immediately available, the strong domestic opening has raised hopes that the film may surpass the $262.5 million global earnings of “Michael Jackson’s This Is It” during its limited theatrical run.
Swift’s film features weekend-only showings, making comparisons to other releases challenging, but weekend-to-weekend figures will provide a valuable measure of its performance. Dergarabedian expressed optimism about the film’s future prospects, anticipating that it will easily surpass the $100 million mark in the domestic market, citing reports of a spectacular in-theater experience that bodes well for its long-term success.