Taylor Swift earns high praise from filmmaker Christopher Nolan for the distribution method she utilized for her concert film Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour. Swift caused a stir on August 31 when she unexpectedly announced that she was bringing her Eras Tour, one of the highest-grossing tours of all time, to the movie theater beginning on October 6. The abrupt announcement left films like The Exorcist: Believer and Dumb Money scrambling to switch release dates to avoid competition. Meanwhile, the movie quickly became the highest-grossing concert film of all time and is attracting attention in the film industry.
As reported by IndieWire, Nolan weighed in on Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour during a talk at the CUNY Graduate Center and had high praise regarding its distribution. Swift did something unique with her concert film’s distribution: She bypassed studios entirely and went straight to the theaters. Nolan was very impressed by her finding a new distribution method and what it would mean for studios. Check out his statement below:
Taylor Swift is about to show the studios, because her concert film is not being distributed by the studios. It’s being distributed by the theater owner, AMC, and it’s going to make an enormous amount of money. And this is the thing, this is a format, this is a way of seeing things and sharing stories, or sharing experiences that’s incredibly valuable. And if they [the studios] don’t want it, somebody else will. So that’s just the truth of it.
Why Is Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour’s Distribution So Important?
It’s not surprising that figures as prominent as Nolan in the film industry are taking note of Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour. The reason why her distribution method is attracting attention is simply because of how unusual it is. Nearly all major releases strike a distribution deal with studios before making it to theaters. Both parties tend to benefit in the process, as distributors will agree to purchase the rights to release and market the film in exchange for a share of the profits earned from the ticket sales. Usually, distributors take a fairly sizable chunk of box office profits.
Swift wasn’t pleased with her meetings with studios when initially looking for a distributor for Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour. Hence, she went to AMC directly, and the theater was interested in reaching an agreement given how Swift is a cultural phenomenon and her movie was bound to make a profit. Her distribution with AMC led to a few unique outcomes. For one, adult prices were set at $19.89 in reference to her album 1989, while children’s and seniors’ tickets were set at $13.13 to reflect Swift’s favorite number. The biggest bonus, though, was that Swift pocketed 57% of ticket sales for The Eras Tour, which would’ve gone to a distributor.
Swift made an enormous amount of money that is bound to leave studios worried. With studios in the AMPTP already facing heat for not negotiating with SAG-AFTRA amid the actors strike, there are many reasons for one to be interested in bypassing studios. It also gives theaters a significant amount of power to know they can make these deals. While Swift’s situation was unique in that she already had the marketing resources she needed with her star power, Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour still opened up other avenues of film distribution beyond studios.