Taylor Swift and Beyoncé prove yet again why they're some of the world's best businesswomen
- Taylor Swift and Beyoncé are making concert films from their blockbuster Eras and Renaissance tours.
- The movies will be released in theaters; Eras is expected to earn $100 million its opening weekend.
Beyoncé is one of one — but when it comes to moving the economic needle, she's one of perhaps two pop stars.
Queen Bey and Taylor Swift have proven their ability to drive ticket, merch, and hotel sales this summer with their Renaissance and Eras tours; the former could generate an estimated $4.5 billion in economic impact, while the latter could generate $5 billion, according to research firm QuestionPro.
Now, the artists are going to prove their power on the big screen.
In August, Swift announced that an Eras concert film will be released October 13. The film's presale shattered records, selling $26 million worth of tickets in the first 24 hours. After much speculation, on Sunday night Beyoncé announced her own concert film: The Renaissance tour's film is set to debut December 1.
It's something that only the biggest of the big draws can do — and that's why it's so impressive.
"Not every music star can pull this off," Paul Dergarabedian, Comscore's senior media analyst, told Insider. "Taylor Swift ignited the spark. If there is anyone who has fans around the world on that order of magnitude, it would be Beyoncé."
It's a shrewd move from the two musicians. While there are a number of entertainers who who would make a "best of business" list — billionaire Oprah Winfrey, Tyler Perry, Kim Kardashian, and George Clooney to name a few — Swift and Beyoncé have surely joined the ranks.
In the past, both Swift and Beyoncé have sold concert films to Netflix. The streamer aired Swift's "Reputation" in 2018 and reportedly paid $20 million for Beyoncé's "Homecoming" in 2019.
While it's unknown if the streamer would still pay that kind of money for concerts — Netflix has been reining in its content spend — it doesn't really matter, as the pop stars stand to make a lot more money this time around.
"This is a unique moment, and these are unique artists who are recognizing the power of the movie theater to build buzz and generate revenue," Dergarabedian said.
Swift — through a deal her parents brokered with AMC — is financing the production of "Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour" herself and putting it directly in theaters, with no studio middleman eating production and distribution costs, Puck's Matthew Belloni reported.
With 273 million Instagram followers, no expensive marketing is needed. (Though there was that commercial during Travis Kelce's football game on Sunday.)
"She, herself, is the number one marketing tool that they have," Shawn Robbins, the chief analyst at Box Office Pro, told Insider.
The theaters will get 43% of the gross ticket revenue, while 57% will go to the Swifts and AMC, which will serve as the distributor, Belloni reported.
With the potential for a $100 million opening weekend, according to Box Office Pro, that's $57 million for Swift and AMC to share. Even if they split it down the middle — which is extremely unlikely — the Swift machine would go home with nearly $30 million from just one weekend.
After paying filmmaker Sam Wrench and any production costs — Belloni reported that these will amount to $10 to $20 million — profit is all but guaranteed.
The details of Beyoncé's deal have not come out yet, but it's safe to say she negotiated a similar deal to Swift's, as it is also a partnership with AMC. AMC declined to comment beyond an initial press statement.
More money will come to Beyoncé and Swift down the line, when they offer their films on video-on-demand platforms and sell them to streamers. That cash will likely go directly into their pockets.
"These wonderfully translate to the small screen once they've had their theatrical runs. It's great for the movie theaters; it's great for the artist," Dergarabedian said, adding that these movies also push listens and downloads. "It's about the halo effect this can have."
What makes the Eras and Renaissance movies so unique
Concert films are nothing new, going back to "Woodstock" in 1970. "Michael Jackson's This Is It" grossed $262.5 million worldwide in 2009, and "Justin Bieber: Never Say Never" grossed $99 million in 2011, according to data from Comscore.
Bets are that Swift and Beyoncé can break records.
"They are not the first concert films to be released in theaters, but the way that they are releasing them and the audience they are going after is what's groundbreaking," Robbins said.
The Eras film will be released on over 4,000 screens in North America; the Renaissance film likely will have a similar rollout.
There's no doubt both films will perform. Many fans had to skip the concerts due to sky-high prices or simple lack of inventory.
"When there is a release that taps into the cultural zeitgeist, it gets people talking about it," Robbins said, likening the Eras film to "Barbenheimer" this summer. "Everybody knows Taylor Swift's fan base is going to show up. It's created this conversation where maybe some people outside of her fanbase will want to see it."
Still, the real winner — or at least the one that needs the win most — may not be either Swift or Beyoncé: Despite a stellar summer with "Barbenheimer," movie theaters are still working to catch up to pre-pandemic box offices, and the writers' and actors' strikes were a blow, as movies like "Challengers" and "Dune: Part Two" were pushed into 2024.
It's no doubt that they will be happy to cash in on these two pop stars.
"This is music to the ears of theater owners," Dergarabedian said.
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