Shake it off.
Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour started off its box office run with a muted $2.8 million in grosses from surprise Thursday evening shows that were added in North America at the 11th hour. While that’s a fine number, it would have been far more if the shows drew a large crowd. As it stood, there was little time to advertise the early screenings. Also, fans had already bought tickets and couldn’t exchange them for the first showings.
But don’t be confused: the femme-fueled Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour will quickly transform into a historic cinematic event, much as Barbie was this summer. AMC Theatres, which is distributing the movie in its locations and other cinemas, is predicting a record-smashing $150 million global opening, including $100 million domestically. Some think that number could come in higher, with a chance of nearing $200 million, based on sky-high demand and numerous sold-out shows.
The pic, which is playing in 8,000 theaters in more than 90 countries around the globe, has racked up north of $100 million in presales. (AMC’s guidance is $150 million, including $100 million domestically).
An ebullient Swift announced late Wednesday on social media that fans no longer had to wait until 6 p.m. local time on Oct. 13 to see Eras Tour in the U.S. and Canada.
But by midday Thursday, seat maps at numerous cinemas, including top theaters in New York City and Los Angeles, showed that many of the just-added shows on Thursday night and Friday afternoon were far from full to almost empty (Imax and Dolby screenings fared better, but it was hard to find a sold-out screening).
One likely explanation according to box office sources: Swifties intent on being the very first to see Eras Tour had already snapped up Friday night tickets, or for over the weekend.
Normally, they could have asked to switch tickets and gone instead Thursday evening or early Friday afternoon, when shows now start at 2 p.m., but Eras tickets are nonrefundable (a virtually unheard of practice in the movie business).
Unsurprisingly, Thursday night’s audience was 74 percent females, with 76 percent of ticket buyers between ages 18 and 35, according to the relatively light sample polled by PostTrak’s exit surveys. The film drew stellar scores.
This summer, Barbie scored $22.3 million in Thursday previews, but that film had a normal release. Eras Tour is being programmed more as an event.
More to come.