Taylor Swift had a ridiculously good summer in 2023, breaking all sorts of concert records with her Eras Tour and its $780 million haul. And because of all the moolah that concert tours contribute to the American economy, those by Swift and Beyonce this summer were hailed by Forbes magazine as adding $5.4 billion to the 3rd quarter. Now, Swift’s impressive stats continue into the fall with her new concert film owning the box office this past weekend with a $96 million take. Plus, the fully realized film was just shot at Swift’s concert in Los Angeles the second week in August and managed to get edited, mixed, and color-corrected to make it into theaters a scant two months later. (Talk about living up to your last name!)
With impressive figures like that, I felt compelled to check out the film myself, and indeed, TAYLOR SWIFT/THE ERAS TOUR is terrific. It’s an elaborately conceived opus to begin with, running through all the eras of Swift’s career so far. But it’s also a beautifully filmed and edited concert film as well. It may not be STOP MAKING SENSE, but then what is? As concerts and concert films go, this is one of the best I’ve seen. (And I’ve seen quite a few concerts in my day, including Madonna twice, Whitney twice, Janet, Christina, and many other top pop stars too.)
Now, I’m hardly Swift’s demographic, but I am a fan. She’s a terrific performer and a good actress too. I loved her hosting of SNL a few years back and she may have been the only cast member who came out of the film version of CATS not wholly embarrassed. (She actually looked pretty cute in her feline frock too.) Indeed, she has many, many talents and they are all on display in this film – singing, writing, acting, dancing, playing the guitar and piano. And yet, despite all that, I wasn’t really prepared to feel so moved by her going through her catalog of songs in succession. Such eras showed her growth as both an artist and person, and how wonderful that it’s been preserved in cinema.
Additionally, I got caught up in the theatricality of the staging, not to mention the show that was going on in the audience I saw it with at Chicago’s AMC River East 21 Cineplex this past weekend. So, to build on all that, let me just list the five main reasons you really need to see Taylor’s movie in theaters and not wait till it arrives on VOD.
IT’S THE CHEAPEST MEGA-CONCERT TICKET EVER
Ticket prices for Swift’s concert were nothing if not pricey, let alone what scalpers were asking for seats. But here, AMC is only charging $30 and it’s an absolute bargain considering everything. Plus, you wouldn’t mind contributing to the fourth-quarter economy now, would you?
IT’S A VISUAL DAZZLER
Not only is the actual concert great eye candy with ritzy stagecraft, exacting choreography, and gorgeous dancers, but you get to see Swift in close-up on the big screen like you’re practically the sweat on her cute little button nose. The camera gets so close to her, to everything really, that it’s hard to believe the camera operators weren’t part of her backup dancers. The film is both ginormous in scale and eye-poppingly intimate too.
AN ACTUAL CONCERT MAY BREAK OUT IN THE THEATER
My audience could barely be contained. They danced in their seats and the aisles too. Reports have indicated that such is happening at every show across the nation. That’s amazing. Seeing a film with that kind of exuberance should be experienced in person in the cineplex.
SWIFT IS THE GENUINE ARTICLE
It’s Taylor’s world. We’re just living in it. (And I’m just writing about it here.) She’s a singular talent, no question, but as I listened to her sing her songs for almost three hours, I realized another quality that makes her so special – her whole canon is her life.
It’s a big story, one that needs a big screen. Some of her songs are heartbreaking, others vengeful, and quite a bit of it cheeky as hell. Swift holds nothing back and it’s exciting to see an artist share so much with the audience. Am I now a Swiftie? Not exactly, but the concert film is fun, funny, and moving.
MOVIES ARE BETTER ON THE BIG SCREEN
Forgive me for going all Nicole Kidman on you, but the big screen does make movies better. So go see Taylor in the theater. And then go see every other movie that you can that same way too. I hope to see you dancing in the aisles for the likes of Fincher, Scorsese, and Coppola very soon.