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To have two concert films, “Renaissance: A Film by Beyoncé” this past weekend and the mid-October debut of “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour,” both topping the weekend box-office chart in a single year is unprecedented and is a testament to the power that the combination of music and cinema have in driving fans to the multiplex.
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Beyoncé and Swift clearly understand that there is really nothing like the communal movie theater experience and with the big screen and fantastic sound systems in most theaters, it really is the next best thing to being at a live concert and at a price point per ticket that is much more in reach of their fans around the globe.
The first weekend in December is a quiet once for the box office historically coming in the wake of the Thanksgiving holiday period. It’s similar in that regard to the weekend after Labor Day when the summer movie season ends, so there’s a lull for theaters that often happens in these corridors. Therefore, it was a smart move strategically for Beyoncé, her team and AMC Theaters (who distributed the film along with Variance) to pick a great release date that virtually assured a number one debut for the film and although "Renaissance's" box office opening of $21.8 million fell far short of Swift's $92.8 million opening weekend, being the top movie in North American theaters likely inspires more downloading of her music, by virtue of having enthusiastic fans in the theaters.
The fact that both the Swift "Eras Tour" and Beyonce's concert film opened at number one is a testament to the drawing power of popular musical acts to draw fans to the multiplex. Not only is this great for movie theaters who benefit from the broadening of viable content beyond traditional narrative films to drive ticket sales, but also the record labels whose album and singles sales certainly see a jump in the wake of the expanded exposure of their artists via a big screen theatrical release.
Concert films are important for movie theaters in a variety of ways. It means selling more popcorn and soda. It gets the theater lobby bustling with fans and if they have a great time at the movie theater seeing their favorite artist on the big screen, they may come back for a traditional film or the next big concert film.
It’s amazing to see how concert films are performing in theaters and their box-office success is great news for an industry that is always looking at new ways to entice moviegoers to the multiplex.
Who will be the next big music artist to have a film in theaters while simultaneously on tour? Time will tell.
From various sources for reference:
Both Beyoncé and Swift chose to partner with AMC Theatres to distribute their films, as opposed to a traditional studio. Both superstars have been supportive of one another, making splashy appearances at the other’s premieres. Both had previously released films on Netflix (“Miss Americana” and “Homecoming”). And both are reported to be receiving at least 50% of ticket sales