Two major October film releases—The Exorcist: Believer and What Happens Later—have had their release dates pushed to avoid competing with Taylor Swift’s new concert film.
- AMC Theater’s presales for Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour shattered 24-hour sales records with $26 million in ticket sales last week.
- Major studies are responding to an estimated $100 to $150 million domestic box office haul by pushing major film releases to avoid directly competing.
- The Exorcist: Believer has been pushed to October 6, and What Happens Later has been pushed to November 6.
- Other prominent October releases like Dune: Part II and Kraven the Hunter had already been delayed due to the ongoing SAG-AFTRA union strikes.
- “Look what you made me do. The Exorcist: Believer moves to 10/6/23 #TaylorWins,” tweeted Blumhouse producer Jason Blum.
Why It’s Important
The Eras Tour has been one of the largest media and entertainment events of the year. As we previously reported, Taylor Swift’s ongoing concert series has been one of the most spectacular entertainment successes and controversial media circuses of the past year. When tickets went on sale in November 2022, Ticketmaster could not keep up with the demand from aggressive Taylor Swift fans who wanted a chance to see her live for the historic concert series—resulting in congressional hearings.
Theaters were already bracing for record-breaking sales from aggressive Taylor Swift fans, bolstering their servers to handle high customer demand, but now movie studios are reading the writing on the wall and realizing that there is no way to release movies in conjunction with the concert movie—although there was a brief attempt to drum up a Barbenheimer-style media campaign for viewers to see both The Exorcist: Believer and The Eras Tour on opening weekend.
The Eras Tour is expected to become the top-grossing concert film in domestic box office history upon release, beating 2011’s Justin Bieber Never Say Never ($73 million) and 2009’s Michael Jackson documentary This Is It ($72.1 million). A few high-profile releases are still slated for release, including Martin Scorsese’s Killers of The Flower Moon on October 20 and Five Nights at Freddy’s on October 27, but neither film is necessarily competing for the same market of fans as the Taylor Swift concert film.
“The record-breaking advance sales happening at our theaters across the United States for Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour showcase the incomparable joy that comes from taking in unbelievable content in an immersive environment together with friends, family, and fellow fans. Her tour’s sensational attraction, which is now continuing across exhibition, drove frenzied traffic to our website and app the moment tickets went on sale, and we are ready for Swifties to be enchanted by this concert film in the unprecedented number of auditoriums we have booked to meet demand for the shared, musical experience,” says Cinemark marketing officer Wanda Gierhart Fearing.