How Taylor Swift’s ‘The Eras Tour’ Revived Concert Films

Picture this: It’s a crisp Wednesday night in October, and the stars have aligned in Los Angeles. The Grove, an upscale shopping mecca, is transformed into Taylor Swift’s playground. This isn’t just any film premiere; it’s an extravaganza. When Taylor Swift takes over a cinema, she doesn’t settle for one screen; she claims all 13.

For the lucky souls in attendance, it’s a chance to witness a spectacular show they’ve only dreamed of. For others, it’s a nostalgic journey back to the best night of their lives. They sing, and dance, and the aisles come alive with fans. “It was like being back at the tour!” says a Swiftie. “I loved it so much! Taylor always goes above and beyond for her fans, and she nails it every time.”

The next day, ‘Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour’ hit cinemas worldwide. In the US, it raked in a jaw-dropping $96 million during its opening weekend, shattering the previous concert film record held by Justin Bieber’s ‘Never Say Never’ from 2010. It remained at the top spot for a second week, a historic feat for concert films.

Image Courtesy: People

This groundbreaking success hasn’t gone unnoticed by Swift’s fellow pop stars. They’re taking cues from her savvy move to partner directly with AMC instead of major film studios. Beyoncé, for example, is set to release her ‘Renaissance’ concert film straight to AMC theatres.

Shawn Robbins, the chief analyst at BoxOffice Pro, explains, “Studios have faced production setbacks due to strikes, affecting release schedules. Theatres know they need to think outside the box, even outside the studio system.” For cinemas with limited upcoming releases, hosting music fan gatherings is a no-brainer. And for touring artists, sharing their epic shows on film is a win-win.

The beauty of modern technology is that a beautifully shot concert film can hit the big screen while the tour is still on the road. As Robbins notes, “This movie didn’t exist a couple of months ago, and that makes it unique.”

Image Courtesy: Vanity Fair

Artists like Harry Styles and Bruce Springsteen are eyeing this trend, and Coldplay recently broadcast their ‘Music of the Spheres’ tour live to cinemas in 81 countries. Classic concert films are also making a comeback, with Talking Heads’ ‘Stop Making Sense’ enjoying a 40th-anniversary re-release.

Robbins anticipates more iconic bands and artists following suit. With Hollywood releases slowing down, theatres are searching for fresh content. Scorsese’s masterpiece ‘The Last Waltz,’ capturing ‘The Band’s farewell concert, is returning to cinemas to mark its 45th anniversary.

Image Courtesy: Rolling Stone

As for Taylor Swift, her Eras Tour might get a revival soon, with fans demanding its return. So, the Swifties who filled that mall won’t have to wait for four decades to relive the experience. Concert films are here to stay, injecting the communal energy that cinemas crave while Hollywood is on pause. After all, why not fill the screens with rock ‘n’ roll and pure joy?

So, whether it’s Taylor Swift’s record-breaking concert film or the nostalgic return of classics like ‘Stop Making Sense,’ the world of cinema is witnessing a concert film renaissance. Artists are seizing the opportunity to share their music and performances with fans globally, and cinema owners are embracing the trend as a way to fill their seats and concession stands with passionate music enthusiasts.

Image Courtesy: The Hollywood Reporter

It’s a win-win situation for both musicians and fans. For the artists, it’s a chance to immortalize their memorable live performances, extending their creativity beyond the stage. For fans, it’s an opportunity to relive the magic of a concert or experience it for the first time. The communal energy that comes with a theatre filled with enthusiastic fans is an experience like no other.

So, the next time you step into a theatre to watch your favourite artist perform on the big screen, remember that you’re part of a cinematic revolution. And if the trend continues, you might not have to wait too long to relive the magic all over again. 

-Britney Jones