Monday, September 18, 2023
Is there anything that woman cannot do? Clearly, she can do anything she sets her mind to do, and if reviving the struggling movie theater business, with carry-on effects for shopping malls and other venues, is a positive externality of Taylor being Taylor, then so be it.
For those of you who have avoided all human contact for the past decade, Taylor Swift (left) is a singer/songwriter who has had a number of hit songs. Her international "Eras Tour" broke all imaginable records for successful concert tours, broke the Internet when tickets went on sale, and even generated a seismic event that registered 2.3 on the Richter scale, reportedly due to 70,000 white people trying to dance simultaneously to "You Belong With Me."
As someone who does not particularly care for Ms. Swift's music but is surrounded by people who do, I have had no choice but to learn some of the details of her career. So, I know that Ms. Swift does not like to share revenues with media industry bloodsuckers, like record labels and (now) movie studios.
She has made headlines once again by leaving the studios out of the deal that will bring the Eras Tour to a movie theater near you. Taylor Swift and her parents have cut the studios out of the process of financing and distributing the film version of her fabulously successful tour. As Chris Eggertsen, reports on Billboard, the proceeds of the enterprise will be split, with 43% to be shared by the 1000 theaters at which the movie will be shown and 57% to be split between AMC and the Swift family. Billboard reports (and I find this hard to fathom) that the theaters get to keep proceeds from concessions (fair enough) including from the sale of bespoke Taylor merch to be sold at the screenings (I'll believe it when I see it). Theaters must agree to show the film for at least four weeks and may keep it up for as long as 26 weeks. Taylor Swift now aims to beat Starbucks for market penetration.
And of course, the records for sales for a new movie are dropping like flies. The movie is not going to be released until October, but it seems like a safe bet that the Swifties will not lose their enthusiasm between now and then. More likely, only Taylor-inspired bonding will prevent them from beating each other with friendship bracelets as they jostle for position in line. No studio wants to release anything anywhere close to the release date for Ms. Swift's film, and for the first time in years, there is actually reason to buy AMC stock -- and not just to piss of the investment banks! If there is a corresponding video game, I would recommend investing in GameStop next. One can anticipate people flocking back to theaters and the shopping malls that house them. Social behaviors that we had completely forgotten about will return, and before long, we will re-familiarize ourselves with pre-pandemic life. People will return to work, if only because the water-cooler conversations will now become opportunities to compete for the honors of having seen the movie the most and having bought the most Eras Tour merch. And all thanks to Ms. Swfit!
I am a lifelong Cubs fan. I thought I would never get tired of the song "Go, Cubs, Go." Then they won the World Series. The weekend of the victory parade, I took a train into Chicago to attend Loyola Chicago's annual Constitutional Law Colloquium. The train lasts about an hour, and my fellow Cubs fans were irrepressible, breaking out into song at the slightest provocation and with no regard to pitch or timbre. I was relieved to step off of the train at my destination station, where "Go, Cubs, Go" was playing over the public address system. I'd had it. I was officially tired of the song. Will the Swifties ever tire of their darling. All signs point to no. Well, let them enjoy their pleasure.
Twenty-six weeks may be enough, but expect it to have an afterlife akin to that of the Rocky Horror Picture Show, with dedicated Swifties heading out week after week to the Saturday night showing of The Eras Tour, complete with a pre-show costumes, Karaoke contests, and Taylor-wannabe talent shows. And of course, the entire concert will be a sing-along punctuated by shrieks and shouts of adoration directed at the image of the singer.
AMC has visions of "Taylorstyle" deals moving forward. That seems unlikely. Her charms are lost on me, but they are undeniably unique and powerful. I cannot think of another performing artist who could replicate this deal. Maybe Beyonce? And just so that my Swiftie students will actually look at this blog, here's the trailer: