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Taylor Swift conquers North America box office with concert film

By Agence France-Presse Published Oct 16, 2023 9:48 am

Pop superstar Taylor Swift filled movie theaters with screaming fans as her concert film took in an estimated $96 million (P5.3 billion) in its opening weekend in North America, smashing records in the category.

"This is a sensational domestic opening," said analyst David A. Gross of Franchise Entertainment Research.

While ticket sales for Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour—which features scenes from three concerts—were below some estimates for the Friday-through-Sunday period, they were still "giant numbers" that dwarfed other concert films, Gross said.

Up to now, he noted, the biggest domestic concert films were 2011's Justin Bieber: Never Say Never, which finished its run with total earnings of $73 million (over P4.1 billion), and 2009's Michael Jackson's This Is It, at $72.1 million (over P4.1 billion).

Swift surpassed those titles in three days, making this the biggest box office weekend since this summer's simultaneous releases of Barbie and Oppenheimer.

The movie, produced with unusual speed, was released with some special Swiftian touches. AMC Theaters, which is distributing it, broke with standard practice and encouraged filmgoers to dance, sing, whip out cell phones, and generally act like they were at a real concert, making for what one critic called a "delirious, dizzying celebration of Swift-mania."

Far, far, far behind in second place for the weekend was Blumhouse and Universal's scary sequel Exorcist: Believer, with estimated ticket sales of $11 million (P625 million), industry watcher Exhibitor Relations reported. Leslie Odom Jr. and Ann Dowd star in the horror flick, 50 years after the 1973 original.

In third was Paramount's family-friendly animation Paw Patrol: The Mighty Movie, at $7 million (P398 million). The Paw pups are voiced by Taraji P. Henson, Chris Rock, Serena Williams, and McKenna Grace.

Fourth place went to Lionsgate's blood-soaked Saw X, with $5.7 million (P324 million) in ticket sales. The latest in the Saw series, with Tobin Bell as the frightening Jigsaw, has received positive reviews.

And in fifth was 20th Century's sci-fi film The Creator, at $4.3 million (P244 million). It has John David Washington, Gemma Chan, Ken Watanabe, and Allison Janney fighting a war against artificial intelligence.

Rounding out the top 10 were:

A Haunting in Venice ($2.1 million/P119 million)

The Blind ($2 million/P114 million)

The Nun II ($1.6 million/P91 million)

The Equalizer 3 ($960,000/P55 million)

Dumb Money ($920,000/P52 million) (AFP)