As she greeted the audience at the premiere of her new movie, Taylor Swift sounded a little embarrassed.
“You’re stuck with me because I’m going to sit with you and watch this thing,” she told the crowd at the packed premiere of “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour,” held at the sprawling Grove mall on Wednesday night. ok one to the crowds, anyway: Thirteen of the theaters at the Grove’s AMC multiplex were packed with eager fans, and Swift stopped by all of them to give a special performance, eventually settling into the venue’s audience, which included stars like Adam Sandler and Julia Garner.
Regular moviegoers can only hope that an apologetic Swift shows up for more house visits as her concert documentary hits theaters this week. Although it was originally scheduled for a Friday release, Swift just announced that the film will begin screening a day early due to fan demand.
Still, even if they can’t watch “The Eras Tour” with the singer herself — who arrived at the premiere in a pale blue Oscar de la Renta gown and danced in place for most of it — the movie is ready to deliver in a basic manner.
For theatergoers whose business has been in jeopardy since the actors’ strike scuttled plans to release films like “Dune” this fall, “The Eras Tour” has been likened to the second coming of Barbenheimer: It has the best-and-go appeal of “Barbie.” ,” the shocking and delightful soundscape of “Oppenheimer,” and the box office tracking to rival both. Bullish movie analysts expect an opening weekend between $150 million and $200 million, meaning “The Eras Tour” has a chance to take this year’s box office crown from “Barbie,” which debuted with $162 million.
In the meantime, here are four takeaways from the premiere.
Don’t expect extras, but you’ll get a front row seat
If fans are looking for insight into how Swift organized her show or what went on in her life behind the scenes, they won’t find it in ‘The Eras Tour’: There’s no extra embroidery in this concert documentary, which was culled from the six-night stint Swift in August at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, a suburb of Los Angeles. For those who caught one of the 53 shows Swift played in North America this past year, or for fans hoping to see Swift on her remaining American dates (an international tour begins in February), this film is more or less the same as buying a concert ticket.
There’s one crucial difference, of course: No stadium seat could offer as close a look at Swift’s performance as this documentary, energetically shot and directed by Sam Wrench. And because the 33-year-old singer conceived of The Eras Tour as a journey through the changing musical genres of her last 10 albums — from the country-pop “Fearless” to the recent, stripped-down records “Folklore,” “Evermore” and “Midnights” — this film is the closest thing there is to a definitive document about one of the world’s greatest artists.
As such, it’s perfect viewing for newcomers and superfans alike: curious people who didn’t want to pay tour prices can now check out Swift at a discounted price, while Swifties who’ve already attended the concert can relive it in a fascinating moment -up. My teenage niece, who went to one of the SoFi shows, accompanied me to the premiere and was thrilled to get a better look at Swift’s facial expressions and choreography. I’ve noticed that hardly a song goes by without big smiles from Swift and her backup singers: There’s enough joy on those faces to power whole blocks of Barbie Land.
Only a few songs were cut
“The Eras Tour” runs a whopping two hours and forty-eight minutes, and while that’s almost as long as “Oppenheimer,” Swift’s real-life concerts on this tour were even more mammoth, usually clocking in a bit less than three and a half hours. Do fans have reason to fear major roster cuts?
By my count, only a few of her usual songs are missing on the way to the big screen, including “The Archer,” “Cardigan,” “Wildest Dreams” and “no body no crime,” which Swift performed at SoFi with the band Haim.
Still, fans will get a lot of bang for their buck, as Swift performs nearly 40 songs during the film, including a 10-minute version of “All Too Well” and two other bonus tunes, “Our Song” and “You’re On “Your Own, Kid,” which Swift pulled from a rotating selection of surprise songs during her tour. And another refinement will certainly be appreciated: Swift now moves between different eras and costumes change in the blink of an eye on the screen, avoiding all the time when these segies took the stage.
In Hollywood, everyone is a Swiftie
Blockbuster premieres have been hard to come by since the actors’ strike began, and an eclectic group of celebrities turned out for the Eras Tour premiere, including Sandler, Mariska Hargitay and singers Maren Morris and Hayley Kiyoko. Fashion choices ranged from silver sequins to cowgirl fringe, and Alex Atala, co-founder of NFT OpenSea Market, entered the theater lobby wearing the colorful ‘I Am Kenough’ tie-dye sweatshirt seen on Ryan Gosling in ‘Barbie.’
“I have very few shirts with so many pastel colors,” Atala told me before posing for a photo with her “Barbie” co-star Simu Liu.
Nearby, I caught Flavor Flav deep in conversation with Swift’s father, Scott. Although they make an unusual duo, the 64-year-old rap icon is no ordinary fan: He said he’s seen the “awesome” Swift on two previous tours.
“I’ve been a Swiftie for the longest time bro,” Flav insisted.
But Swift’s biggest invite was reserved for another A-lister (and no, it wasn’t her new beau Travis Kelce, busy with a football game the next day): Before the premiere began, Swift dined and posed for photos with Beyoncé. who has her own concert film, Renaissance: A Film By Beyoncé, due out on December 1st. Like “The Eras Tour,” Beyoncé’s film has bypassed traditional Hollywood studios and will be distributed by AMC Theaters.
Swift will finally enjoy success on the big screen
Despite being a superstar in the music industry, Swift’s forays into film haven’t been so well received. Her last three film appearances as an actress include the small-time coming-of-age drama The Giver, the memorably disastrous adaptation of Cats, and last year’s David O. Russell-directed Amsterdam, which had Swift pop in for a quick cameo and then immediately ran over her.
Unlike Lady Gaga, who has been switching between music and movies in equal measure lately, Swift treats Hollywood as more of a side hustle, committing to only the occasional supporting role. But last year, after she signed a deal with Searchlight to write and direct an upcoming original film, the whole city raised eyebrows: Was Swift ready to take her film career a little more seriously?
It remains to be seen if Swift will star in her feature directorial debut, but “The Eras Tour” still gives her some much-needed juice on the big screen. With a playful presence on her biggest tracks, like the bouncy “Shake It Off” and the rocking “Look What You Made Me Do,” Swift is even more engaging in her acoustic numbers, which trade heavy choreography for simple guitar playing. And on centerpiece “Tolerate It,” she shows acting skills during a well-choreographed routine about a dinner date gone wrong: It starts with her pleas to an expressionless lover and ends with her knocking a vase of roses off the table.
Her real talent, however, is selling humility with a megawatt charisma that few celebrities can muster. Introducing one song, Swift insists she had to invent a giant version of herself to write it: “In my fantasy, I’m not a single millennial woman covered in cat hair,” the singer says, despite having spent the entire movie , looking incredibly glamorous in Christian Louboutin high heels.
And yet you are still tempted to believe her. What is this if not a movie star?