When “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour” hits movie theaters on Oct. 13, it will serve as a high-profile test of whether such “alternative content” as a concert film can bring audiences to cinemas, creating more consistency for a business that ebbs and flows with the theatrical release calendar.
Swift’s film could bring in $120 million in its opening weekend, according to box office analysts and studio executives, delivering a jolt to ticket sales for AMC Theatres (AMC.N), Cineworld (CINE.D) and other chains.
But the vaunted Taylor Swift effect, together with a concert film from fellow pop superstar Beyonce, may not completely make up for holes created by Hollywood strikes.
The labor unrest has interrupted the movie industry’s comeback, stalling momentum from summer hits such as “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse,” “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” ahead of the crucial holiday season, which accounts for roughly one-quarter of the industry’s annual box office revenue, according to research firm Comscore.
“Swift and Beyonce will certainly fill some of the gaps,” said Box Office Pro senior analyst Shawn Robbins. “Still, it’s probably asking too much for those titles alone to completely make up for the revenue of ‘Dune: Part 2,’ ‘Kraven the Hunter,’ and the next ‘Ghostbusters.’”
All three of those anticipated films were moved to 2024 because their stars cannot promote their movies while the SAG-AFTRA actors union remains on strike.
After studios postponed those releases, theater owners scrambled to fill their screens with what the industry calls “alternative content,” such as the concert films from Swift and Beyonce’s Renaissance Tour.