There is simply no global superstar today who can compare to Taylor Swift. Well, maybe just the legendary Beyoncé. These two powerhouses have been conquering stages around the world, leaving audiences stunned and delighted in their wake. Fans from far and wide flock to their performances, sparing no expense. Their music not only ignites passion, but also sparks meaningful conversations around identity, feminism, empowerment, self-esteem, and resilience. The camaraderie of sisterhood, loyal fans and female strength has proven to these two women that they’re not rivals, but powerful allies.
On October 12, Taylor Swift premiered The Eras Tour concert film at a Los Angeles theater accompanied by her parents (who have become celebrities in their own right), Beyoncé and her loyal, adoring fans. Swift and Beyoncé — two forces singlehandedly driving the U.S. economy (with a boost from the Barbie movie). If you think this is hyperbole, see what the Federal Reserve says about it. All hail the queens!
Swift, as she usually does, organized this premiere in her own unique way. She arrived before anyone else at The Grove, an open-air shopping center with an AMC cinema complex. The venue and nearby streets had been closed since the night before (causing some traffic chaos) to prepare it for Swift and her guests. She took photos, signed autographs and spent a time chatting with a few lucky fans. The guests were treated to personalized buckets of popcorn, chocolate, jelly beans, nachos and soft drinks. Not many celebrities attended, except for Beyoncé, who only posed for photos and didn’t stay for the screening. Instead, there were numerous relatives, friends and team members, including Sam Wrench, who directed the film. According to TMZ and local media outlets, about 2,200 people attended.
We met Le-Ann while she juggled several big buckets of popcorn. A longtime Swiftie, the 63-year-old admitted with a laugh to being one of the oldest fans at the event. She won her tickets through a Los Angeles radio station and drove with a friend for an hour to get here. The friend was nowhere to be seen. “She’s probably looking for more souvenirs… This is crazy — I’ve never seen anything like it. But she’s just fabulous and a born star,” said Le-Ann, who proudly wore a Taylor Swift T-shirt. Naturally, the mostly female audience wore Swift-inspired outfits and the ubiquitous friendship bracelets that fans exchange at concerts.
The entire 14-theater complex was exclusively reserved for Swift’s film. Although the screenings were scheduled to start at 7 p.m., there were hour-long delays because Swift insisted on personally greeting each audience. She gave a brief speech in every theater, effusively expressing her gratitude for their support. “Tonight, every single person has been handpicked for their incredible love and support for this tour… I just wanted to say thank you for everything you’ve done that’s brought us to this day. I mean, I’ve always had a great time doing this, but let me tell you, I can’t believe music is my career! And honestly, I’ve never had a fraction of the fun I’ve had on The Eras Tour… my band, dancers, backing vocalists, the entire staff — they do it every night rain or shine, in sickness or in health — and all with a smile for you, the fans… You totally made us forget about everything for, like, three and a half hours. So, thank you for that! And I really think fans will see that they’re the real stars of the show… This is going to be a core memory in my life. Thank you, I hope you like it and I love you very much.”
The shouting, running through theater corridors and fan videos made it clear that those seeking a purely cinematic experience were probably disappointed. It was a concert atmosphere with fans screaming, clapping, crying, dancing, waving their arms as they sang along. Taylor Swift turned her live shows into a party, and now movie theaters as well.
The film showcases the 53 Eras Tour concerts in the U.S. and four in Mexico. Many more are planned this year and next for Argentina, Brazil, Asia, Europe, and Canada. Some fans may notice that certain songs, like The Archer, Cardigan, No Body, No Crime, and the beloved Long Live are missing from the movie (although Long Live played over the closing credits). The transitions between the 10 eras in the show are also quicker since no costume changes were needed.
For a show with so many costumes, sets and effects, the film allows you to notice details that are impossible to see in a large stadium performance. For example, different microphones were used for each era, meticulously personalized for Swift. Audiences were treated to close-ups of the desks and coffee cups in The Man, the moss-covered piano in Champagne Problems, and the snake-shaped rhinestone-studded outfit of the “Reputation” era. It’s a level of detail that’s impossible to capture in a live performance. The film includes backstage scenes, and shows Swift accompanied by a film crew, sparking speculation about a documentary in the future.
Swift’s famously loyal fans were well represented at the premiere. There was Aricka, a 26-year-old marketer who created a Taylor Swift menu for her restaurant, and Jonathan Velasquez, a 19-year-old chosen by Spotify as a top Swift streamer, who wore a hand-painted jeans jacket. Carolina Guzmán came all the way from Monterrey (Mexico) to grab a selfie with her idol before watching the movie. Guzmán has already been to nine of the Eras Tour shows.
There were no selfies with Taylor after the movie. She stayed throughout the entire screening, dancing and singing like everyone else, but slipped out a back door, disappointing fans who had missed half the movie waiting by the door. The singer has a few days of rest before re-releasing her 1989 album on October 27. It’s the latest “Taylor’s Version” — albums she’s re-recording after losing the original rights to her former manager in 2018. In November, Swift will be performing in Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. After a break for the holiday season, she will continue her tour in Japan, Australia, Singapore and other parts of the world. The tour is anticipated to generate over $1 billion worldwide.
The Eras Tour concert film is now in U.S. and Canadian theaters. With ticket sales already exceeding $100 million worldwide, industry experts predict it will gross over $125 million in North America alone, and an additional $30-$50 million in the nearly 100 countries where it will be released. With only 10 weeks left in the year, it still has a chance of becoming the sixth highest-grossing film of 2023. What movie could possibly beat it? Perhaps Beyoncé's concert film, set for a December release. The reign of the queens shows no signs of fading away any time soon!
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