It’s already been a busy week for Taylor Swift, but the box office fun is just beginning.
Her concert movie, “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour,” is opening this weekend and has made $2.8 million in Thursday previews from 2,700 theaters. Showings began last night at 6 p.m. The film was originally slated to open on Friday, but in a surprise announcement hours before her Los Angeles premiere on Wednesday, Swift told her legions of fans that it would launch slightly earlier, on Thursday night instead.
The movie, which filmed Swift during her massively popular Eras concert tour, is expected to earn between $100 million and $125 million in its opening weekend. The added Thursday showtimes and huge buzz from the premiere, in which Beyoncé made a surprise appearance, could push the debut even higher. But the last minute change of plans when it came to previews likely prevented that number from climbing higher.
“Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour” is opening in 3,850 theaters in North America and a further 4,150 venues in more than 90 countries. The international launch could bring in $30 million to $50 million, putting the worldwide debut at an upwards of $150 million to $175 million.
The movie has already made $100 million in advance ticket sales, according to its distributor AMC Theatres. That makes it the highest-grossing concert film ever, surpassing Justin Bieber’s “Never Say Never” ($99 million). By the end of its run, “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour” will likely be in the top 10 biggest films of the year.
The film is unusual because it is not being distributed by a major studio. Swift took meetings with Hollywood companies, but ultimately decided to release the movie with the help of AMC, the world’s largest theater chain (it plays in non-AMC locations, as well).
In another historic move, it will probably be the first movie ever to encourage people to use their cell phones during the film. Swift has told her fans to treat the movie like a concert and take a photos, videos and dance while they watch. Theater owners have played along and are pushing sales of exclusive merchandise to draw Swifties to their cineplexes.