SATURDAY PM: OK, so box office sources got excited, estimated that Taylor Swift: Eras Tour was going to open to $100M+, and all the while said in the same breath “We don’t know what we’re talking about. This one is hard to guess. It’s a unicorn.” Well, you were close, and that doesn’t mean that this concert pic’s opening is an upset with what’s looking like a $93.3M start. That’s the second-best domestic opening at the October box office after The Joker‘s $96.2M. What studio doesn’t want that?
For a film that cost between $10M-$20M with a thrifty marketing budget, that’s nothing to be upset about. Saturday is looking like $32.3M, -17% from Friday’s $39M haul (which includes $2.8M Thursday previews).
That Friday-to-Saturday hold is great for a female skewing movie, in fact it’s on par with Joker (-17%) as well as that DC pic’s Saturday haul which was $32.4M. In fact, Eras Tour isn’t that far from Little Mermaid‘s Friday to Saturday ease (-21%) and in her first two days, the concert movie has made $71.3M which is more than what that Disney live-action pic did over the same period which was $68.2M. Box office sources are forecasting that Sunday will be down another 30% from Saturday for Eras Tour. Where does it go from here? Will AMC and Swift change strategy (like they did pivoting to Thursday previews) and allow the movie to play during the week? Right now, it’s relegated to only play on the weekends.
Critique what you want: That Swift should have posted more on social, that she should have been popping up at movie theaters this weekend to spike business or do Q&As instead of SNL and the Chiefs Thursday night game. However, Eras Tour has the seventh best opening of 2023 to date, and the best opening of the fall which has seen its domestic box office suffer due to the actors strike.
SATURDAY AM WRITE THRU AFTER FRIDAY NIGHT 10:28 PM UPDATE: Sources said predicting Taylor Swift: Eras Tour would be a roller coaster ride, and well, here it is: Friday now looks to be settling at an estimated $37.8M –that’s according to industry estimates this morning. AMC is calling Friday for Eras Tour at $39M. That’s the second-biggest opening day of October, right behind The Joker‘s $39.3M back in 2019, and ahead of 2021’s Venom: Let There Be Carnage‘s $37.4M.
Despite that good news, this ratchets down the 3-day to $90M-$109M at 3,850 theaters. Again, that outlook doesn’t come from AMC. Here’s the thing, as we always said — if this movie misses the $100M mark and lands in the high $90Ms, that’s nothing for AMC and the industry to throw furniture around about. At $90M, Eras Tour would battle Venom: Let There be Carnage as the second-highest domestic start in October after Joker‘s $96.2M. Note, Eras Tour still has a shot at hitting the $100M bullseye. But you have to build in safeguards for Swift.
Why the range? Because one of these films are not like the other, meaning many still can’t figure how front-loaded this is, and whether the Swifties aren’t out in bulk tonight versus last night. Logic would dictate they would come out, given how many have seen her live show a couple of times. Some have Eras Tour modeled with a Saturday drop of -20% off Friday/previews, and others have Eras Tour tracking with a -1% dip or better, ala Disney’s live-action 2017 pic, Beauty and the Beast.
Still, that 20% drop between Friday/previews and Saturday is a better hold than the Friday-to-Saturdays of other female-skewing movies like Twilight (-41%), Barbie (-32%), and Sex and the City (-34%). Even at $90M, it’s still the best debut in the U.S. and Canada for a concert film; and hey, it’s the best damn opening we’ve had since Barbie, the box office having been greatly diluted by the actors’ strike and thespians’ forbidden to promote. Reminder, Eras Tour had a SAG-AFTRA interim agreement, which allowed Swift to post on social and appear at her world premiere.
We can’t forget this record: Eras Tour will rep the biggest start ever for a movie distributed by a movie theater chain, that being AMC.
And she’ll write her name in CinemaScore, meaning Swift gets a rare A+ in exit polls. Wow. There’s only been 86 movies which have received an A+ CinemaScore since the audience exit company began back in January 1986, and Swift is one of them. She’s in the company of such movies as Spider-Man: No Way Home, Black Panther, 1991’s Beauty and the Beast, Avengers: Endgame, Titanic, and E.T., to name a few. Rotten Tomatoes audience score is at 99%.
Other interesting tidbits we’ve heard throughout the weekend:
–In regards to the top 100 theaters by presales for the movie yesterday, 98 of those belonged to AMC, a feat rival studio distribution bosses have never seen before. PostTrak says that a majority of those who saw the pic bought their tickets in advance: 53% more than a week ago and another 20% in the last week. Walk-up business crowds were weighed at 27% yesterday.
–One boutique chain exhibitor griped to us that on a mega weekends such as this, they’re typically ahead. However, with the Eras Tour, they’re under-indexing. That’s because when AMC announced their distributed movie, they got out in front, hence conception for moviegoers is that the only place to watch Eras Tour is at an AMC theater.
—Eras Tour played across America despite many thinking she’d be big city heavy. Swift was big in the East, South, Midwest and Mountain. The Imax and PLFs are driving 26% of the total gross, which means many of her fans are opting to seeing in 2D. See, we told you her fanbase aren’t avid moviegoers. PostTrak shows that of those who watched the movie last night, 33% saw a movie a few times a year or less, while 32% get to the cinema every other month or so. AMC’s Lincoln Square is the top-grossing theater for her in the nation (sorry, AMC Burbank, the constant weekend champ) with a near $105K, which includes previews.
–There were sellouts yesterday, making capacity hard. Hence, walk-up business will be easier to accommodate today.
–Let the record show that during an ongoing actors strike, which is barreling this week toward its 100th day, at a time when actors and studios still can’t come to a deal, which is freezing the entire entertainment industry and watering down the box office: the CEO of the No. 1 theater circuit, Adam Aron, has single-handedly, with Eras Tour, pulled the fall box office out of the gutter with all pics this weekend earning an estimated $141M, +85% from a year ago, when Halloween Ends bowed to $40M in a theatrical day-and-date means on Peacock. That’s the biggest weekend we’ve had at the box office since the third frame of Barbie (Aug. 4-6) when all pics grossed $172.7M. This weekend also beats the same frame in 2021, when No Time to Die opened (all pics grossed $122.5M), however, it’s under pre-pandemic 2019, when Joker led the domestic marketplace to $161M.
–Updated Comscore/Screen Engine PostTrak exits for Eras Tour are 96% positive, 89% definite recommend, kids under 12 hugging this at 97% positive, and 83% must-see right away. Female skewing at 82%, of course, with 63% between 18-34 and the 25-34 year old being the biggest demo at 32%, followed by 13-17 at 32%. Diversity demos were Caucasian 59%, Latino and Hispanic at 25%, Black at 3%, and Asian/other at 13%.
–Remember, this wasn’t a normal major studio marketing campaign, with Swift telling her half billion-plus on social a few times about the movie, and a single digit TV ad spot campaign during NFL games where the multi-Grammy winner was cheering on b.f. Kansas City Chiefs Travis Kelce. Those asked by PostTrak said Instagram (34%) and TikTok (27%) were the most influential social media platforms for them when it came to catching ads about Eras Tour. Ads that moviegoers caught before heading to Eras Tour were on social media (52%), friends/family word of mouth (36%), online trailer/preview (29%), online video ads (23%), TV ads (22%), and in-theater poster/ads (20%).
–52% of those who saw the movie last night told PostTrak, “I am eager to see a sequel, there is a lot more to explore.”Do you hear that Andrea and Scott Swift? Eras Tour 2: Electric Boogaloo.
–What happens now that the Swifties have seen Eras Tour? 53% say they’ll see it again in theater, 39% say they’ll find a free way to watch it again, while 28% will buy it on DVD and 27% on digital.
–Myriad stats about Swifties who showed up last night, per PostTrak: 38% are pet owners (Taylor loves cats), 28% attend live events like concerts, 25% identify as politically liberal, 21% are registered Democrats, 21% identify as LGBTQ+, while 22% are college grads.
Other fun stuff: Eras Tour‘s day one at the box office beats the entire domestic cume of such Swift starring movies as Cats ($27.1M) and Amsterdam ($14.9M), but was under the domestic total of The Giver ($45M).
Saturday AM estimates:
1.) Taylor Swift: Eras Tour (AMC) 3,850 theaters, Fri $39M, 3-day $90M-$109M/Wk 1
2.) Exorcist: The Believer (Uni) Fri $3.77M (-68%), 3-day $11M, -58%, Total $48.6M/Wk 2
3.) Paw Patrol 2 (Par) 3,707 (-320) theaters, Fri $1.55M (-46%), $6.1M (-46%) Total $48.9M/Wk 3
4.) Saw X (LG) 3,058 (-204) theaters, Fri $1.78M (-26%) 3-day $5.7M (-27%) Total $41.4M/Wk 3
5.) The Creator (New Reg/20th)2,960 theaters (-720), Fri $1.16M (-34%), 3-day $4M (-35%), Total $32.1M/Wk 3
6.) A Haunting in Venice (Dis) 2,290 (-135) theaters Fri $580K (-24%), 3-day $2M (-25%)/Total $38.6M/Wk 5
7.) The Blind (Fath) 1,165 (-142) theaters Fri $540K (-47%), 3-day $1.69M (-47%), Total $13.6M/Wk 3
8.) The Nun 2 (NL) 2,128 theaters (-364), Fri $500K (-33%) 3-day $1.7M (-35%) Total $83.8M/Wk 6
9.) Equalizer 3 (Sony) 1,524 (-2) theaters Fri $266k (-49%) 3-day $920K (-49%), Total: $90.5M /Wk 7
10.) Dumb Money (Sony) 2,276 (-561) theaters, Fri $260K (-61%) 3-day $823K (-66%), Total $12.5M/Wk 5
Friday Afternoon Update: Baby, Let the Games Begin….“This one is hard to predict,” is the constant mantra this weekend among rival box office sources guesstimating the opening swing for Sam Wrench’s Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour concert movie. Friday is currently pegged in the $40M-$50M range with a big spread of $107M-$130M at 3,850 theaters for the weekend as a whole.
On the high-end, that could be the third biggest opening at the 2023 domestic B.O. after Barbie ($162m) and Super Mario Bros’ 3-day of $146.3M. Added another source about the Eras Tour outlook: “Prepare for us to be wrong.”
Why are Swift concert film projections calculus to box office bean counters instead of the usual weekly algebra? Basically, there’s an enormous amount of frontloaded presales here, plus the x-factor is how many walk-ups occur. Add to that the standard drops on Saturday night with a young-female skewing title. One source has The Eras Tour tracking ahead of Barbie‘s pure Friday gross (less $22.3M Thursday previews), which was $48.2M. That said, no one is expecting Swift here to play out like Barbie which strutted to a $162M opening. We’ll have more updates as they come.
Meanwhile, haters aren’t going to hate: Critics on Rotten Tomatoes are giving Eras Tour a 100% score. AMC isn’t sending out official figures until tomorrow.
Early Screen Engine/Comscore PostTrak from last night, which was combed from $2.8M previews, gave Eras Tours five stars or 95% positive. Parents gave it 4 stars and kids under 12, 5 stars. Thursday night leaned 76% women with females under 25 at 42%, females over 25 at 34% and guys way behind at 15% over 25 and 9% under. Moms, natch, outnumbered Dads, 67% to 33% with an jawdropping 95% girls making up the majority of kids under 12. Best grades are women over 25 (100%) and under (97%) while men over 25 grit their teeth for 2 hours and 48 minutes giving Eras Tour its lowest grade of 78%. Note: These exits will shift over the weekend.
The weeken’d runner up looks to be Universal/Blumhouse/Morgan Creek’s Exorcist: Believer at 3,684 locations. It’s seeing a second Friday of $3.8M, second weekend of $11M, -58%, for a ten-day of $44.9M.
Third is Paramount/Spin Master’s Paw Patrol: The Mighty Movie ($1.45M third Friday, $5.7M third weekend, -50% with $48.5M at 3,707 theaters). Fourth is Liongate’s third weekend of Saw X ($5.4M, -31%) after a $1.9M estimated Friday and cume by Sunday of $41.1M while New Regency/20th Century Studio’s The Creator is in fifth at 2,960 theaters with a third Friday of $950K estimated, $3.3M 3-day and $31.3M running total.
Previously: The AMC distributed Taylor Swift: Eras Tour concert movie officially made $2.8M in Thursday night previews.
We told you last night that the rough estimate was below $5M. The pic played in 2,700 theatres with showings last night beginning at 6 p.m. local time.
Remember, these previews aren’t indicative of how the weekend will go. Projections of $100M+ stateside still stand at 3,855 theaters. Swift announced Wednesday night moments before her premiere that she was pivoting her lucky 13 release date plan of Friday 6PM to Thursday night previews for the Sam Wrench directed movie. In certain places, advance tickets for the concert film last night didn’t go on sale until six to eight hours before showtime.
In addition, Swift was competing with herself last night: If you were a die-hard fan, chances are you could have been watching her at the Kansas City Chiefs vs Denver Broncos game where she was cheering on Travis Kelce.
There are technically no comps to last night, not only because of the last-minute addition of Thursday previews, but also there haven’t been many wide release concert movies in the preview millennium era of box office. Interestingly enough, the midnight showtime starts for Michael Jackson concert docu, This Is It, drew $2.2M on its Tuesday night, Oct. 27, before posting a $7.4M Wednesday and $34.4M five-day.
The last minute showtimes for Eras Tour didn’t take too much air out of the sleepy autumn box office with Universal/Blumhouse/Morgan Creek’s The Exorcist: Believer earning an estimated $1.3M yesterday at 3,663 theaters, -9% from Wednesday for a first week of $33.9M.
Lionsgate’s Saw X at 3,262 theaters did $729K yesterday, +1% from Wednesday, and $11.3M in week 2 and $35.7M running cume.
Paramount and Spin Master’s second week of Paw Patrol: The Might Movie earned $15.8M after a second Thursday of $620K, +2%, at 4,027 theaters. The animated pic’s running total is $42.8M.
New Regency/20th Century Studios/Disney’s The Creator at 3,680 theaters grossed $571K on Thursday, even with Wednesday, with a second week of $9.3M and a running total of $28M.
Fathom Events’ The Blind saw $271K at 1,312 theaters, and a second week of $4.5M and a running total of $11.9M.