Between the runaway success of Barbie, and Beyonce and Taylor Swift’s blockbuster tours, this summer has shown that entertainment by and for women is hugely profitable. (Will Hollywood or record label execs learn from this? I doubt it.) Taylor Swift’s Eras tour may have grossed almost a billion dollars by some estimates, which is wild. Taylor just announced that a concert film of the Eras tour is coming to theaters on October 13. It’s going to be 2 hours and 45 minutes long, and AMC is distributing the movie. They’re upgrading their website to avoid a Ticketmaster-style meltdown when tickets go on sale. But just like her tour tickets had crazy inflated prices, tickets for this movie start at $19.89. A cute tie in to her next album re-release, 1989, but pretty expensive for a movie. When I saw that, I thought, “it had better be in IMAX” but that’s just a standard ticket. Miss Girl, are you not already rich enough?
Both the base ticket prices are expensive!: Tickets are now on sale at AMCTheatres.com, the Cinemark site 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.)
AMC is upgrading its website to handle five times its usual traffic: Are they ready for it — exhibitors, 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.”
The run time is a little shorter than the concerts were: On the AMC ticketing site, the running time is listed as 2 hours and 45 minutes, slightly shorter than a set length that ran about 3 hours and 15 minutes in stadiums the past six months. Some of that condensation will likely be due to the elimination of costume and set changes, as word has it that no songs have been cut from the setlist for the film. A “secret songs” mini-set will be included in the film; as for a list of possible candidates for that wild card slot in the movie, on the nights when extra cameras were filming in L.A., the surprise solo choices included “I Can See You,” “Maroon,” “Our Song,” “You Are in Love,” “Death by a Thousand Cuts” and “You’re on Your Own, Kid.”
Some fans already experienced wait times to buy tickets: Fans who immediately followed Swift’s lead on social media to buy seats at the AMC website were herded into a short queue that was showing up for many as a wait of about 15 minutes, while there was no wait at Fandango, where tickets are also on sale.
Not to be mean, but if Ticketmaster couldn’t handle the demand, AMC probably won’t be able to either. I know that people won’t be nearly as frantic to get these tickets as the concert tickets but Taylor’s fan base is very devoted and a lot of people missed the tour because tickets were astronomical or they got boxed out of Ticketmaster when the website melted down. I am still offended by the elevated movie ticket price, I don’t care how cute the 1989 branding is. I’ve seen Oppenheimer 3 times this summer (yes, I am a nerd) and 2 of the 3 were in IMAX. Those showings cost me $22 each but it really added something to the experience see that movie on a giant screen with the enhanced sound. It was immersive. What’s the justification for Taylor’s concert movie being nearly as expensive in standard definition? It comes off like a naked cash grab which is distasteful after a tour where nosebleed seats were like a thousand dollars. It occurs to me that perhaps it’s intended to drive demand down a little bit so that AMC’s servers don’t get overloaded. But the optics of it aren’t great. I’m sure it will make a kabillion dollars and be well received. Taylor might annoy me but she makes a good product.
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Embed from Getty Images
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