In the US, cinema chain AMC has made its stance clear on what types of behaviour are (and aren’t) acceptable following the release of the Taylor Swift Eras movie.
Here’s an interesting story to come out of the US this morning, courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter. As Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour concert movie opened to some impressive financial numbers, picking up a global opening weekend of $125m, social media became a space for the star’s fans to discuss cinema etiquette with some expressing frustrations that the behaviour of others was ruining their enjoyment of the film.
Footage has emerged of audience members singing along, standing on their seats or gathering down at the front of the screen to dance and have a good old time. Of course, lots of this was to be expected given the rather enthusiastic fanbase that Swift possesses. The singer herself even told fans to interact with the performance via social media in late August, saying, ‘Eras attire, friendship bracelets, singing and dancing encouraged.’
Still, some audience members found it to be too much of a distraction, meaning they weren’t able to hear the singer’s voice and took to social media themselves to complain. The brouhaha hasn’t yet compelled AMC, the cinema chain screening the film in the US to get involved, even though it previously issued a statement declaring what was or wasn’t acceptable in a screening, saying: ‘We encourage dancing and singing throughout this concert film event, but please do not dance on our seats or block other guests from viewing, safely walking or exiting the auditorium.’
The story throws into relief the ongoing discussions about audience behaviours in shared spaces. The theatre space continues to see stories about about inappropriate audience conduct whilst cinemas have to continually think about this too: from the ‘Gentleman Minions’ craze of last year to talks about Gen Z screenings that allow mobile phone use, discussions continue regarding what it is to be an audience member in today’s cinemas.
Yes, the Eras Tour is a concert movie but how far removed is it from a musical such as say, Barbie? Very, some might say but as cinemas continue to try and find ways to lure younger audiences back to cinemas in the wake of Barbenheimer, discussions will continue regarding what constitutes ‘acceptable conduct’ inside of an auditorium. They’re certainly happening online at the moment, it seems.