Nick Cimillo ’26
It was the early evening of May 28, 2023. I started the drive to my grandparents’ house a bit earlier than usual that week; whenever there’s a concert at MetLife Stadium, I try to beat the inevitable traffic on Route 3. That night, there was no ordinary concert. Taylor Swift was in town.
In the months since then, the first U.S. leg of Swift’s Eras Tour has come to an end, and as Swifties await the kickoff of the international leg, they were treated to a long-theorized and much-anticipated announcement: “The Eras Tour” concert film, set to hit screens in over 100 countries on Oct. 13. Nearly three hours long, the film will span the tour’s 40+ song setlist across all 10 of Swift’s albums, or “musical eras.”
The demand for film tickets has been astronomical, much like that of actual Eras Tour concert tickets. The film’s pre-sale made $10 million in its first few hours. AMC Theaters upgraded their online ticketing systems in anticipation of a massive influx of sales, but their mobile app still crashed. Many films intended to hit theaters mid-October even shifted their release dates to avoid competing with “The Eras Tour,” including “The Exorcist: Believer,” which, after initially falling on the same day as the concert film, moved its release up a week.
Going back to that night in May, I was sitting in my grandparents’ backyard when the concert began, and I could hear it clearly in the distance. With Swift’s sweet vocals to “Cruel Summer” permeating the air, it felt as if nature was healing. When the monstrous screams of the audience drowned her out, it seemed the end was near.
There is no denying the power of Taylor Swift and her fanbase. Swift is being lauded by the film industry for the film’s release strategy: instead of striking a deal with one of the major studios to record and produce the film, she used her own film crew and worked directly with AMC Theaters to distribute it. Major film studios, namely those under the AMPTP, are currently involved in a labor dispute with SAG-AFTRA. However, Swift was able to produce the film despite the strikes by bypassing studios and receiving special approval from SAG-AFTRA, as the film met the standards they are fighting for.
The “Swifties” are another beast. Fans worldwide, especially those who were unable to get tickets to a live concert, are eager to see the film in theaters, and Taylor is adamant that fans treat the film like a live concert experience. How would this play out? Will moviegoers have to put up with shouting, stomping crowds from neighboring theaters while trying to watch something else? Would it even be possible to attend and enjoy any other film with “Swifties” raiding theaters?
On the drive home I passed by MetLife Stadium, just in time to hear Taylor start singing “… Ready For It?” That seems like a question “Swifties,” the moviegoing public and the film industry need to answer for themselves before the film’s release date.