The next Barbie? Australian fans snap up tickets for Taylor Swift film

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The phenomenal demand for Taylor Swift concert tickets earlier has switched to cinemas as the official film of the pop star’s massive Eras tour prepares to open next month.

Australian cinema executives report strong sales after tickets for Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour went on sale late on Tuesday night – a surge that had one calling it “a mini Barbie” for the way young Swifties were driving demand.

Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour film will be released on October 13.

While it was not clear until this week that the film would open before Swift’s tour early next year, Australia is one of more than 100 countries that will screen it from mid-October. It will be an unexpected bump for box office after Dune: Part Two was among the big movies pushed to next year because of Hollywood’s actors strike.

“We’re super-excited,” the chief executive of Hoyts cinemas, Damian Keogh, said. “It could nudge $10 million plus for box office.”

Within 12 hours of going on sale, more than $300,000 worth of tickets had been snapped up at Hoyts cinemas alone – three times first-day pre-sales for Avatar: The Way of Water late last year.

Alex Temesvari, general manager of Sydney’s Cremorne Orpheum, said the cinema’s available sessions have already half sold out. “They’ve only been on sale for a few hours, so it’s just a phenomenal result,” he said.

Benjamin Zeccola, chief executive of Palace Cinemas, said the chain sold more than 2000 tickets in the first 12 hours.

Taylor Swift performing during the US leg of her Eras Tour.Credit: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello

“It was the swiftest we have ever seen seats snapped up in the history of online ticket sales,” he said.

The film captures Swift’s first three performances at SoFi Stadium in California during the US leg of the Eras Tour last month. Made by Taylor Swift Productions, it is directed by Sam Wrench, whose past work includes large-scale concert films for Lizzo and Billie Eilish.

It runs for about two hours and 45 minutes, which probably means it will not feature every song on the Eras Tour set list. Swift’s American concerts have consisted of 44 songs, usually over three hours.

While devoted Swiftie Morgan De La Rue will see the pop phenomenon in concert in February, she still quickly bought tickets to watch the film three times.

“The Eras tour will be the first Taylor tour I haven’t been right up the front, so it’ll be great to take in the close-up details ahead of seeing the tour in real life,” the 30-year-old said. “With the four-per-show ticket limit for the concerts next year, it means many of us will be seated apart, but we’ll get the chance to all get together for the film in bigger groups and share the moment with each other.”

De La Rue, from Dandenong in Victoria, was looking forward to Swift “Easter eggs” in the film.

“Taylor is known to hide hints in the smallest details, like the colour of her nail polish or how many seconds an intro lasts,” she said. “So I’m going to be watching closely to see if she’s plotting anything.”

Morgan De La Rue quickly scooped up tickets to see Swift’s concert film three times once she heard it was airing in Australia next month.

The film will screen for four weekends under what one executive called “highly unusual” terms set down by the Swift organisation.

They include fan-friendly affordable ticket prices of $19.89 for adults in a reference Swift’s 2014 album 1989, which is being re-released on October 22. Tickets for children and seniors will be $13.13 in honour of the Bad Blood singer’s lucky number.

Cinemas can screen the film for a minimum of 15 shows including one in prime time each day – 6pm to 8pm – for four weekends from October 13. While it won’t screen from Monday to Wednesday, it is expected to easily be the highest-grossing concert film in Australian cinemas.

Zeccola said they would not be able to sell Swift merchandising under the conditions of the release, which he called “casually cruel”.

“Nonetheless, Palace Cinemas will be celebrating the Eras tour by dressing up and creating a carnival atmosphere with music, cocktails, mocktails and all these pretty things in an inclusive celebration of Taylor’s positivity (Palace’s version),” he said.

Temesvari said the Orpheum would also encourage fans to dress up and bring their own friendship bracelets to trade.

The marketing manager for the Lido and Ritz cinemas in Melbourne and Sydney, Jaymes Durante, said the film would turn venues into a dance party.

“Music, decorations, photo opportunities, we’ll make sure Taylor’s discography is blasting through our foyers and it’s safe for fans to get up and dance and sing,” he said.

The film will screen about five months before Australian Swifties have a chance to see the live concert, which Zeccola said had left some fans concerned about potential spoilers.

But with the deluge of US Eras Tour content already available on social media, especially TikTok, he does not believe many will be deterred.

Ticket sales have gone gangbusters in the US since the end of last month. According to Variety, AMC – which is handling the film’s rollout in the US – sold a record $US26 million in tickets on the first day of sales.

The Eras Tour is the 33-year-old pop star’s fourth concert film, following those for her Fearless, 1989 and Reputation albums, as well as a filmed version of her Lover album concert. Netflix’s Miss Americana also offered a behind-the-scenes look into Swift’s life between 2018 and 2019.

Two weeks after the film opens, Swift will release 1989 (Taylor’s Version), the latest album in her series of re-recordings.

Swift will perform in Melbourne on February 16, 17 and 18, and in Sydney on February 23, 24, 25 and 26.

Find out the next TV, streaming series and movies to add to your must-sees. Get The Watchlist delivered every Thursday.

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