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Taylor Swift‘s record-breaking The Eras Tour is how headed to movie theatres, but the story of how it got there is just as compelling as the 40+ song setlist the megastar plays each night on stage. As reported exclusively by Matthew Belloni at Puck, Swift and her team—led by her father, Scott Swift—directly bypassed all the traditional Hollywood studios in order to finance and distribute the film themselves, and negotiated with AMC and Cinemark in order to screen it.
Belloni reported that initial discussions between the Swifts and the studios had been described as “disappointing”, and as a result, they decided to use their financial might and influence to do things their own way. Scott, a former stockbroker, developed the idea of independently producing the film and then handling distribution directly. The Swifts put down a fee, described as being between $10 million and $20 million, and hired Sam Wrench to direct it, filming at one of her concerts in Los Angeles.
Having cut out the middleman, they could now negotiate their own deal. The Eras Tour kicked off in March and has already raked in a staggering $1.4 billion in earnings. Swift decided to expand the tour, originally slated for 52 shows, to a whopping 146 shows spanning five continents. With its current trajectory, the tour is poised to reach an estimated $2 billion in revenue, cementing its status as the highest-grossing live music tour in history.
What Are the Benefits of The Swifts Doing Everything Themselves, and Why is It Important?
By engaging directly with AMC, the Swifts have significantly reduced their expenses while increasing their potential earnings, as they are now the sole beneficiaries of the film’s profits. As reported by Belloni, AMC will receive 43% of the box office revenue, leaving the remaining 57% for Swift.
The movie is scheduled to be screened in over 1,000 theaters across the United States, including AMC, Cinemark, and Regal locations. Each AMC cinema in the country will offer four daily screenings from Thursdays to Sundays. Furthermore, both parties have agreed to allow cinemas to showcase the film for a duration of up to 26 weeks, setting the stage for substantial financial gains for both parties involved, while some exhibitors have privately discussed what they believe is a very feasible possibility of an opening weekend which will exceed figures of $100 million, as other films abandon the October 13th date in terror.
This also sends a clear message from exhibitors to the studios. Even with a strike ongoing, multiplexes do not need them to find programming. On Thursday, Billboard confirmed that the project was shot via an interim agreement and has not breached any strike rules. Has Taylor Swift also saved cinema now?