Anyone who couldn’t procure tickets for Taylor Swift’s record-breaking stadium tour in the U.S. may be about to have their wounded feelings assuaged, a little — and everyone who did can get primed for some instant nostalgia. A filmed rendering, “Taylor Swift | The Eras Tour,” will hit movie theaters nationwide this fall, with opening day set for Friday the (of course) 13th of October.
It’s far from the kind of one- or two-night special engagement that music fans have become used to with filmed concert experiences in cinemas. AMC Theatres is promising that the film will play at every one of its U.S. locations at least four times a day on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through its initial engagement, with many of the chain’s Imax and Dolby Cinema locations locked in to ensure the singer remains larger than life on its premium screens.
Tickets are now on sale at AMCTheatres.com and Fandango. Prices are as numerically loaded as anything in Swift’s world: $19.89 for adults (plus tax), $13.13 for children and seniors, on standard screens. (Up-charges will kick in, as always, for Imax and Dolby Cinema showings.)
Are they ready for it — the folks at AMC, that is, for possible instant swarming from millions of Swifties? The prospect of ticketing systems breaking down is not something film exhibitors have traditionally publicly fretted about, but desperate fandoms call for desperate measures. And so AMC is saying that preventive measures have already been taken to avoid any meltdowns of the sort that made the on-sales for the actual tour a nightmare for many fans… while cautioning that it still may not be as quick or easy an experience as buying a ticket for, say, “Barbie.”
“In anticipation of this announcement,” the company said in a statement, “AMC has upgraded its website and ticketing engines to handle more than five times the largest influx of ticket-buying traffic the company has ever experienced before. But AMC is also aware that no ticketing system in history seems to have been able to accommodate the soaring demand from Taylor Swift fans when tickets are first placed on sale. Guests wanting to be the first to buy their tickets online may experience delays, longer-than-usual ticket-purchase waiting-room times and possible outages. AMC is committed to ensuring any delays or outages are addressed as quickly as possible.”
Other special factors will apply, like no free passes, no use of AMC A-List Stubs memberships, and no refunds. The reason for the latter rule is to discourage would-be resellers from buying up loads of tickets, then asking for their money back en masse if they’re unable to unload them.
The concert film won’t only play in AMC locations. For the first time, AMC is acting as distributor as well as exhibitor, and the company will be making the presentation available to unaffiliated theaters, in what AMC describes as “the inaugural step of a new line of business for AMC Entertainment.” So far, those jumping on board to show the film include Cinemark in the U.S., Cineplex in Canada and Cinepolis in Mexico, with AMC saying it expects to sign many other theaters up prior to October. Variance Films is helping with the bookings in non-AMC locations.
The announcement Thursday solved the mystery of just what the intent was of having an extra battery of cameras on hand for the first three nights of Swift’s six-night stand at L.A.’s SoFi Stadium in August. Speculation that the star was shooting with the big screen in mind was rampant, given the obvious impact that she could make on the national box-office with this kind of event. But Swift has also worked with several streamers in the past — most notably, Netflix gots lots of attention and sign-ups for running the “Reputation” tour concert film as a New Year’s Eve special, and she’s done projects with Disney+ (“The Long Pond Sessions”) and Amazon as well — so the idea of the star reconnecting with one of those services was hard to rule out when those extra cameras were first spotted in L.A.
No mention has been made of overseas engagements, which makes sense, since the Eras Tour won’t arrive in the flesh outside of the Americas until 2024. Swift will spend most of next year touring Europe, Japan, Australia and other territories. She is due to come back to the U.S. for a very short engagement to end the world tour in the fall of next year, but her camp presumably believes there won’t be a huge rush among the fans who managed to land tickets for those shows just because they’re now going to have a chance to see a movie version ahead of time. Of course, many fans around the world have already had solid glimpses of her three-and-a-half-hour set via unauthorized fan livestreams, but those kind of video spoilers only served to drive resale prices up, not down, as the U.S. tour went along.
The running time was not revealed in the initial announcement from Swift and AMC, but if it’s the full 45-song set she did on tour — which often ran to around 3 hours and 20 minutes — plus credits, it could rival Martin Scorsese’s 206-minute “Flowers of the Killer Moon” for the longest film in wide release this year.