I'm not in Taylor Swift's target audience of females between the age of preteens-to-moms desperately clinging to their youth. She doesn't write bittersweet Country-Pop ballads about romantic entanglements for me. Guys in my highly specific demographic of suburban Boomer dads have Yacht Rock for that.
That said, the dozen or two songs in her catalogue I'm familiar with I like. I'll probably wait for her Eras Tour movie to hit streaming and watch it then. I respect her as an artist. But more than anything, I respect her for her true talent, which is as a business woman.
We are talking, after all, about an artist who had the acumen to sit through a meeting with the most crooked financial enterprise since Bernie Madoff and see it for the Ponzi scheme it was in ways that professional financiers did not:
Then she scammed the entire world when she managed to connect with Travis Kelce a week before the Chiefs played in New York for the soul purpose of making it so when you typed "taylor swift jets" into a search bar, you got articles about her sitting in the owner's box of a football game instead of the preposterously huge carbon footprint created by all her private flights:
Which brings us to her latest business venture, which is shaking the Hollywood studio system, which has controlled how movies are distributed since the days of silent pictures, to its very foundations.
Swift's Eras Tour movie had come out at the same time as one of the biggest prestige pictures of the last few decades. Killers of the Flower Moon has every, single thing going for it. A director on the very, very short list of the greatest of all time. Who not only makes respected masterpieces, he makes them with broad popular appeal. It's got two of the most bankable stars of their generations in Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert DeNiro. It's based on a best selling book. And is so Oscar-baity they might as well just UPS the trophies and skip the ceremony, since no one watches it now anyway.
And yet the movie version of a concert tour that already owned the entire summer is positively crushing Scorcese's latest work of cinema verite at the box office:
After last weekend, here are the gross domestic box office numbers to date:
And over the weekend, Swift brought in about twice the money Sorcese, DiCaprio and DeNiro did. Twice.
More importantly though, it's the way she did it. Because in order to bring this little side hustle of hers to theaters, Swift went entirely around the studio system and brought it to the theater chains directly. She cut out the middle man. As acknowledged by another legendary filmmaker who has the juice to distribute his films anyway he pleases:
Source - During a recent discussion at a City University of New York event … [Christopher] Nolan spoke alongside his Oppenheimer producing partner and wife, Emma Thomas, who said that studios have been too skittish about releasing movies in the streaming era.
“Taylor Swift is about to show the studios, because her concert film is not being distributed by the studios, it’s being distributed by a theater owner, AMC, and it’s going to make an enormous amount of money,” Nolan said. “And this is the thing, this is a format, this is a way of seeing things and sharing stories, or sharing experiences, that’s incredibly valuable. And if they don’t want it, somebody else will. So that’s just the truth of it.”
So a 33-year-old singer-songwriter has created a total paradigm shift in an industry that has been doing business the same way for almost 100 years before she was born. On her first try, no less. And the studio system that's been cut out of the process of printing money on this one is shook. So their shills in the access media are trying desperately to spin this as something less than a gigantic W for her made of gold:
More THR - It is already the top-grossing concert film of all time in North America, as well as ranking as the second-biggest October domestic debut, not adjusted for inflation.
But questions linger as to why Eras Tour came in behind an expected $100 million opening in North America and $150 million globally, and whether it left millions on the table as a result of its unorthodox release rollout. Some point to the unusual messaging around the movie (such as Swift and AMC encouraging fans to dance and sing while they watch the two-hour and 48-minute movie). … There’s bound to be sour grapes on the part of studios, who can command a distribution fee of anywhere from 8 percent to 15 percent.
“It’s hard to balk at a $90 million opening. I think it’s great for the industry, and it’s great for AMC, but there was money left on the table by not having professionals handle it,” says one studio executive.
Frigging hilarious. Swift has threatened their very existence by the way she produced something her public wants to see, but didn't let them get their cut, so it's all "It was expected to do better" and "She messed up by not making more." Like that's their concern and not how they're getting their financial clocks cleaned by a chick from West Reading, PA who built an empire singing breakup songs.
The thing with Kelce can't go away fast enough for me and tens of millions of Americans who think it was played out about 500,000 headlines ago. But whatever you think of her judgment when it comes to her personal/romantic life, no one should ever fail to respect this woman's business savvy.