Let’s make one thing clear from the outset: Taylor Swift is in a league of her own. When it comes to concert films and music documentaries, insiders unanimously acknowledge that there’s no one quite like her. However, Taylor Swift’s influence goes beyond her exceptional talent and popularity, as it’s becoming a rising tide that lifts all boats in the industry.
Swift’s recent deal for “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour” is making waves. This unique agreement allows her to retain a significant portion of the film’s staggering $160.4 million global earnings after just its second weekend in theaters. Artists and their teams are taking cues from Swift’s approach and exploring new possibilities in the concert film and music documentary space.
A survey conducted by NATO‘s Cinema Foundation, involving 6,000 moviegoers, revealed that 72 percent of respondents expressed a desire for more concert films on the big screen. Yet, this demand has not been consistently met.
“Concert films were ruined by poor execution,” states Jon Kamen, co-founder of RadicalMedia and a seasoned professional in this field. Kamen’s portfolio includes projects like the “Concert for George” in 2003, a film documenting the tribute concert for George Harrison at Royal Albert Hall, as well as the filmed production of “Hamilton” on Broadway that made a significant impact on Disney+ in 2020. Kamen notes, “They were once produced as cheaply as they could be produced with the minimum number of cameras that you could afford.”
In stark contrast, “The Eras Tour,” directed by Sam Wrench, is nothing short of a spectacle in its own right. Filmed across multiple nights during Taylor Swift’s performances at Los Angeles’ So-Fi stadium, this production employed a staggering 40 camera operators and cutting-edge camera technology. “She set the bar very, very high,” says Michael O’Leary, head of the National Association of Theatre Owners, in reference to this remarkable production.
Taylor Swift’s impact on concert films is undeniable, reshaping the industry and pushing it to new heights. While no one may be Taylor Swift, her influence is paving the way for a new era in the world of concert films and music documentaries.