Taylor Swift’s record-breaking Eras Tour is now breaking box office records. The Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour concert film is expected to earn between $100 and $125 million in its opening weekend. That would immediately make it the highest-grossing concert film of ever — and one of the biggest movies of 2023.
It’s a boon not only for theaters (and popcorn bucket manufacturers), but also everyone who wasn’t able to see the Eras Tour in person. I was lucky enough to attend the opening night show, as well as the 1989 announcement show, so if you’ll tolerate it, I would be enchanted to tell you the 13 (of course) moments from the concert that I would love(r) to see on the big screen.
1. When was the moment I knew the Eras Tour was going to be “the most impressive stadium show ever conceived”? Was it when Swift broke Ticketmaster? (No.) Or seeing the catwalk stage for the first time? (Nope.) It wasn’t even the first song, no offense to the abridged version of “Miss Americana & the Heartbreak Prince.” It was the cathartic shrieks that greeted song number two, the Lover cult favorite-turned-genuine hit, “Cruel Summer.” If you can see Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour in an IMAX or Dolby Cinema, do so. You’ll feel the same chills I did and make Christopher Nolan proud.
2. The Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour trailer describes the film as a “once-in-a-lifetime concert film experience with a breathtaking, cinematic view of the history-making tour.” Does that include behind-the-scenes footage? Will we see Swift getting into her janitor cart (allegedly)?
One of the reasons why Martin Scorsese’s The Last Waltz is number one on my list of best concert films is seeing the boys in The Band — Robbie, Levon, Rick, Richard, and Garth — dicking around backstage, playing “cut throat” pool and smoking cigarettes. I don’t expect that level of access, but it would be fascinating to see Swift in the moments before she appears on stage in front of 70,000 people.
3. “1, 2, 3, let’s go bitch.”
the fact that this is the first taylor sung “1,2,3 let’s go bitch!” with her fans😭 pic.twitter.com/bfS1sniLg0
— Lea 1989 TV (@taylenarare) October 12, 2023
4. Like a lot of Swift fans, I didn’t know what to think when “Look What You Made Me Do” was released. It was a moody, defensive pivot away from the beach and seagulls vibes of 1989. Swift came out of the woods, then raced back in. But I’ve grown to appreciate “Look What You Made Me Do” in the same way I enjoy “Shake It Off.” It’s a high-concept novelty song, the first single that establishes the themes of the album to the the broadest audience possible. It’s not the best Rep song, but it’s a lot of fun — especially live.
“Look What You Made Me Do” was one of my favorite performances on the Eras Tour. And a fine showcase for the backup dancers who are trapped in glass boxes as former versions of Taylor. If you’re still looking for a Halloween costume idea (or something to wear to Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour), might I suggest curly-haired Taylor?
5. It’s silly to care about spoilers for a concert film, but I’m going into Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour blissfully unaware about which surprise songs made the cut. That information is out there (including on this very website), but it’s more fun not knowing. Would you have wanted to know Brad Pitt is a figure of Edward Norton’s imagination before seeing Fight Club for the first time? (If I spoiled Fight Club for you just now, you’re welcome to ruin the surprise songs in return. It’s only fair. Also, come on. It’s been 24 years.)
6. The two-song surprise set isn’t the most startling thing about this section of the concert. As part of the transition to the Midnights era, Swift dives into a hole in the stage, which is made to look like rippling water, and “swims” away. There are gasps every time. We’ve since learned how it works, but I’m curious what angle the movie will take to keep up the allusion.
7. Over 100 celebrities attended the Eras Tour, from possible boyfriends (Travis Kelce) to Swift music video stars (Sadie Sink, Mariska Hargitay, etc.) to Emma Stone (Emma Stone, multiple times). But who’s in the movie? Like the surprise songs, this information is already out there, and I’m sure there’s a detailed night-by-night “Celebrities Who Attended the Eras Tour” slideshow on People’s website. I am once again pleading ignorance, but it would be funny if the only non-Taylor famous person in the movie was Karlie Kloss.
8. Evermore is the black sheep of Swift’s discography. It’s the album that many Swifites (too many imo) are certain that she dislikes; she even defended the follow-up to Folklore — not a sequel or B-sides to Folklore — during the first night of the tour. I love Evermore, and I would love Evermore even if it was only one song long. As long as that song was “Champagne Problems.” As the Eras Tour went along, a tradition was born: give “Champagne Problems” the ovation it deserves for as long as possible. By the final night of the U.S. leg, Swifties were cheering for eight minutes. Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour better include the entire ovation (if only for the opportunity to run to the bathroom).
9. Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour isn’t just for people who didn’t get tickets to the Eras Tour. It’s also for everyone with obstructed view seats. This isn’t an individual moment, per se, I’m very happy that these “guys and gals and non-binary pals” will be able to see the Eras Tour the way it was intended (without half a stage in their sightline). At least they’re used to looking at a screen?
10. Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour is rated PG-13 for “suggestive material.” The suggestive material:
11. AMC’s website has a long list of things people going to Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour should know. Friendship bracelets are encouraged, the lengthy runtime, and so on. The theater chain also encourages “dancing and singing throughout this concert film event, but please do not dance on our seats or block other guests from viewing, safely walking or exiting the auditorium.” As a proud but obnoxious Alamo Drafthouse season pass holder, I’m normally opposed to talking — let alone singing — during a movie, but an exception will be made to find out which lyric gets sung the loudest. My money’s on “what a shame she’s f*cked in the head, they said.”
12. One of the more magical moments during the Eras Tour was the snow drifting down from the ceiling during the 10-minute version of “All Too Well.” It was like living in a snow globe (as long as the snowman is wearing a red scarf). I take back something I said earlier: don’t see Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour in IMAX or Dolby Cinema; go to an interactive 4DX theater. Snow falling during “All Too Well,” water being blasted into your eyes to simulate crying during “My Tears Ricochet,” the seat rumbling during the goat-like screams in “I Knew You Were Trouble.” Now that’s how you experience the Eras Tour.
13. It wasn’t that long ago that we were trapped in our homes, the vaccine still months away. But life, after nearly losing all its meaning, got back to normal. Or at least normal-ish. Live events like the Eras Tour helped us get there.
I bring up our shared pandemic trauma not to wallow in it, but to offer a suggestion: take a moment while watching Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour, maybe during one of the crowd-pleasing sing-alongs to “Love Story” or “Style” or “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” and look around the theater. Notice the joy that Taylor Swift’s songs bring to people. That collective exuberance was my favorite part of attending the Eras Tour, and it’s the moment from Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour that I’m most looking forward to experiencing again.