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Taylor Swift's Eras Tour Concert Film is coming to a theater near you

A MARTÍNEZ, HOST:

Taylor Swift's "The Eras Tour" concert film broke ticket sale records even before hitting theaters. It opened yesterday and is predicted to earn as much as 175 million bucks at the box office worldwide. Here's NPR's Mandalit del Barco.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "TAYLOR SWIFT: THE ERAS TOUR")

TAYLOR SWIFT: Are you ready for it?

MANDALIT DEL BARCO, BYLINE: Taylor Swift is still on her "Eras Tour." She's made a record smashing $2.2 billion with her stadium concerts. The new documentary features footage from her shows in Los Angeles two months ago.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "TAYLOR SWIFT: THE ERAS TOUR")

SWIFT: (Singing) He looks up, grinnin' like a devil. He looks up, grinnin' like a devil.

We're about to go on a little adventure together, and that adventure is going to span 17 years of music. How does that sound?

DEL BARCO: Swifts "Eras Tour" film is showing in more than 100 countries at 8,500 movie theaters.

(CHEERING)

DEL BARCO: At the film's world premiere in Los Angeles Wednesday, Swift thanked her dancers, backup singers, her crew and, mostly, her fans.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

SWIFT: I think you'll see that you absolutely are main characters in this film because that's what made the tour magical.

DEL BARCO: Like at her live concert, Swifties sang and danced and exchanged friendship bracelets.

BRYAN BRAUNLICH: This concert and this film is really going beyond what is on the screen. It is playing into a cultural moment for moviegoers.

DEL BARCO: Bryan Braunlich is executive director of the Cinema Foundation, part of the National Association of Theater Owners. He says coming out of the isolated COVID years, theatergoers want movies to feel like a special occasion, like they did with the summer hit "Barbie."

BRAUNLICH: Eventizing (ph) this moment, right? You know, I wore pink to "Barbie." I knew to wear pink. If I'm a Taylor Swift fan, I'm going to wear whatever era I'm going to wear. People want to be a part of what is happening on the screen.

DEL BARCO: The Cinema Foundation surveyed more than a thousand moviegoers about what other kinds of events they'd go to at movie theaters - live boxing, cooking shows, TV premieres. Concert movies topped the list. Braunlich says for Swift's film, theaters are selling special drinks and snacks and encouraging selfies and singalongs. Of course, this is not the first movie to have audience participation.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW")

CHARLES GRAY: (As The Criminologist) It's just a jump to the left.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTORS: (As characters, singing) With a step to the right.

DEL BARCO: Fans in the 1980s dressed up, sang and danced and threw toast at the movie screens for "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." And over the years, many artists have been featured in limited-run concert films.

ANTHONY D'ALESSANDRO: This is completely different. This is Taylor Swift capitalizing right at her pinnacle. It's just perfect timing. And whether this can be replicated again is the question.

DEL BARCO: Anthony D'Alessandro is the editorial director and box office editor for Deadline Hollywood. He was at the premiere for Taylor Swift's film.

D'ALESSANDRO: It's fast. It's flashy. It's an action film.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "TAYLOR SWIFT: THE ERAS TOUR")

SWIFT: (Singing) It's a cruel summer.

DEL BARCO: D'Alessandro says Swift's film is filling a void, coming at a time when studios delayed other film premieres due to the Hollywood strikes. And, he notes, Swift shook up the traditional movie distribution process by making her own deal directly with the theaters.

D'ALESSANDRO: She didn't need a major studio's marketing department to get her fans to show up to this film. Taylor, with over a half billion followers on social media, is her own marketing machine.

DEL BARCO: After Taylor Swift, Beyonce's "Renaissance" concert film is next, though it remains to be seen if she'll pull in as much in the box office.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "RENAISSANCE: A FILM BY BEYONCE")

BEYONCE: That's what the Renaissance is about.

DEL BARCO: Tickets are already on sale for Beyonce's film, which opens in December.

Mandalit del Barco, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

As an arts correspondent based at NPR West, Mandalit del Barco reports and produces stories about film, television, music, visual arts, dance and other topics. Over the years, she has also covered everything from street gangs to Hollywood, police and prisons, marijuana, immigration, race relations, natural disasters, Latino arts and urban street culture (including hip hop dance, music, and art). Every year, she covers the Oscars and the Grammy awards for NPR, as well as the Sundance Film Festival and other events. Her news reports, feature stories and photos, filed from Los Angeles and abroad, can be heard on All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Weekend Edition, Alt.latino, and npr.org.