Taylor Swift's Eras Tour movie made it into theaters by sidestepping Hollywood studios

taylor swift eras tour
Taylor Swift performs onstage during The Eras Tour at MetLife Stadium on May 26, 2023, in East Rutherford, New Jersey.Kevin Mazur/TAS23/Getty Images for TAS Rights Management
  • Taylor Swift's new concert movie will be playing at AMC and other theaters beginning October 13.

  • In an unprecedented move in modern Hollywood, AMC Theaters is also the movie's distributor.

  • Here's how the deal was made — and why Hollywood is mad about it.

In an unprecedented move for modern-day Hollywood, a theater chain is releasing a movie on its own.

On Thursday, AMC Theatres announced that a movie version of Taylor Swift's Eras Tour will be showing in its theaters beginning October 13. But unlike practically all releases that play at its multiplexes, AMC is also the concert film's distributor.

This unique deal was made between Swift's family and the theater chain's CEO Adam Aron, according to Puck.

Swift's family presented the idea to Aron after they were disappointed by discussions they were having with several studios about releasing the 2-hour-and-45-minute documentary. The Swifts decided to cut out the middle-man and went straight to AMC, the biggest movie chain in the world.

With AMC Theatres in financial trouble (the company still owes more than $4 billion after taking on significant debt during the pandemic) and facing an uncertain fall movie season with the ongoing dual actors and screenwriters strikes, Aron jumped at the chance to showcase the record-breaking tour, which is on track to become the highest-grossing tour of all time.

Representatives for AMC Theatres and Taylor Swift didn't immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

AMC theater
Get ready for the commemorative merch.Noam Galai/WireImage/Getty Images

The terms of the deal are heavily in Swift's favor, though AMC will still make bank

As many Swifties have already noticed, the ticketing for "Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour" is unconventional. Regardless of location and showtime, there is a single fixed price for adults ($19.89, to replicate Swift's birth year and fifth album "1989") and another for children and seniors ($13.13, which is Swift's favorite number twice.) However, it costs more to see the movie in Imax.

The box-office numbers are likely to be massive. AMC announced Friday that the concert movie has become the highest advance sales revenue day in the company's 103-year history, beating "Spider-Man: No Way Home." Theaters showing the movie will also be required to play it for a minimum of four weeks.

Overall, the deal is great for AMC, but the chain won't be generating most of its revenue through the box office despite being the distributor. According to Puck, 43% of the box-office revenue will go to the other theaters showing the movie, and the remaining 57% will be shared between the Swifts and AMC, with the Swifts likely taking the bulk of those profits.

In comparison, Marvel's distributor Disney pockets 70% of MCU movies' opening-weekend box-office earnings.

So, as always, AMC and the other theaters releasing the movie will be leaning heavily into concessions. AMC is already promoting collectible popcorn tubs for $14.99 and cups for $11.99.

A source at one studio that was interested in releasing the concert movie told Insider that an internal review of the Eras Tour done by its marketing team revealed that concertgoers spend an average of $300 at a single concert. Considering the spending power of Swift's fans, AMC can expect to sell a lot of these commemorative popcorn buckets.

taylor swift eras tour
Taylor Swift is ready for the big screen.John Shearer/TAS23/Getty Images for TAS Rights Management

You best believe Hollywood is fuming

In July, the Common Sense Institute estimated that in total, Taylor Swift's US tour "could generate $4.6 billion in total consumer spending, larger than the GDP of 35 countries." When those are the kinds of numbers we're dealing with, there are obviously going to be some folks who are angry they aren't getting a piece of it.

From movie studios to third-party, movie-ticket platforms, everyone was shocked by the announcement of Swift's concert film. Typically, all distributors are in the loop on each other's releases so marketing and screenings can be worked out months in advance. But when it came to "Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour," Insider has learned that all of the studios were not given a heads-up.

Universal was burnt the most: its Blumhouse release, "The Exorcist: Believer," had to be moved up a week. It originally had the same October 13 release date as Swift's movie (and millions had already been spent marketing it as such.)

One studio source told Insider the whole thing is "a little scary" because the move by AMC — and likely success of the Eras documentary release — could lead to the chain becoming a "mercenary" in the distribution space.

taylor swift eras tour
Taylor Swift.Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for TAS Rights Management

This also leads to the big question swirling around the movie industry at the moment: How is this all legal?

Until recently, the Paramount Consent Decrees regulated how movies were released. Back in the 1930s, the eight major studios at the time had a monopoly on the industry because they made the movies and then also owned the distribution and exhibition.

Established in the late 1940s, the decrees made it illegal for a single entity to own both sides of the movie business. However, due to changing times, the decrees were terminated in 2020, although there are still antitrust rules in place.

The Swift family's deal with AMC brings into question issues about price fixing and denying competitors access, but the latter seems to not be a major issue anymore. While AMC was ahead of everyone, it's not the only theater chain that will have showings of "Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour." Major chains Regal and Cinemark will also be screening it, and distributor Variance Films has been brought on to book the documentary at mid-level chains and independent movie houses.

It will be interesting to see how the industry adapts to this unique release, which will likely be the talk of Hollywood through the fall.

Read the original article on Insider