Taylor Swift fans had just eight hours to buy tickets for last-minute Thursday night previews of her The Eras Tour concert film.
The result was $2.8 million in ticket sales.
While the figure is low in comparison to blockbuster releases from Marvel, DC and Star Wars, it reflects the fact that film wasn’t originally slated for a Thursday release. In fact, fans weren’t told screenings were available early until late Wednesday night, and tickets for 6 p.m. showings weren’t available for purchase until 10 a.m. local time Thursday.
Box office analysts don’t see the small Thursday night haul as any indication of the potential success of Swift’s film.
“A storm is brewing,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore. “The 11th hour announcement of the availability of Thursday night pre-shows produced an early box office number that belies the true potential for the film. Pre-sales and incredible fan enthusiasm portend a blockbuster style weekend.”
Expectations are that Swift could tally between $40 million and $60 million on Friday, on her way to an opening weekend draw of as much as $150 million. Any figure over $96 million for the weekend will make it the highest opening film in the month of October, beating out 2019’s “Joker.”
“It’s a wild one to try and project,” said Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at BoxOffice.com. “Everything comes down to how much walk-up business she can bring in outside her dedicated fans who already bought tickets weeks ago, on top of the average ticket price.”
Swift’s film is on pace to open in about 3,850 theaters, making it the widest domestic release of a concert film. It is also set to have the highest opening weekend for a concert movie, surpassing Miley Cyrus’ “Best of Both Worlds Concert” from 2008, which snared $31.1 million during its domestic debut, according to data from Comscore.
Should the film top $263 million globally during its limited run in theaters, which many box office analysts expect, it will also become the highest-grossing concert film worldwide, surpassing “Michael Jackson’s This Is It.”
AMC Entertainment, which is distributing the film, reported last week that presales for its theaters had already exceeded $100 million for the full run of Swift’s film.
Aiding Swift’s box office haul are average ticket prices that are more than 40% higher than typical releases this year. Base prices for tickets for standard formats start at $19.89 for adults and $13.13 for kids. The numbers reflect Swift’s birth year and her lucky number, 13. Tickets for premium format screens such as IMAX and Dolby come at a higher cost.
Additionally, cinemas are also expected to get a big bump in concession sales. Specialty popcorn buckets, drinkware and boutique cocktails should grab the attention of moviegoers. Many locations also have plans to set up friendship bracelet-making tables and other in-person events to make the occasion bigger and more memorable than just a trip to the movies.