Taylor Swift movie could have $150m opening weekend, no studio involved

Taylor Swift The Eras Tour
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Taylor Swift’s tour movie is anticipated to have a huge opening despite not having a distribution partner. Could this shape the industry?

Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour is set to release in US cinemas this weekend and the predicted numbers are pretty boggling. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the film could have an opening weekend of $100m, perhaps even $150m. Just to put that into context, that is a Barbie-level opening and what’s more, the film is expected to have legs too with some reports stating that Swift has secured a four-month screening window with US chain, AMC.

There’s a significant wrinkle in all of this too: Swift is releasing the film wide across the US without using a traditional studio partner. Whilst the global pop superstar is said to have negotiated with several top Hollywood studios, she ultimately elected to go straight to AMC and strike a deal directly with the cinema chain and will instead use her colossal social media presence to essentially market the film herself.

Even if you aren’t a die-hard Swiftie, it makes for a very interesting story, not least as it comes in the wake of Sound Of Freedom's huge commercial performance with that independent film having outgrossed both Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part 1 and Indiana Jones And The Dial Of Destiny in the US. Both films have employed radical distribution strategies (you can read about Sound Of Freedom's controversial approach here) and it seems to have hugely paid off.

Hollywood studios have certainly taken note: The Exorcist: Believer and What Happens Later have shifted their release dates, with Universal and Bleecker St Media respectively seemingly unwilling to risk being caught up in what is expected to be a tidal wave of Taylor Swift momentum.

Should the film’s success prove to be as monumental as is being predicted, you can bet other stars with big social media presences be looking at the Swift strategy and wondering if it could somehow be replicated.

With no studio involved and having footed the bill for the film herself, the star will be banking the lion’s share of the film’s takings. Along with superhero fatigue, the strikes and the wildly-varying performance of blockbuster movies, it’s another interesting moment in a summer full of interesting moments. We continue to see the established norms of the studio system being stress-tested. Whether you’re a Taylor Swift fan or not, happens next will be intriguing to see.

Image: BigStock

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