By Danielle Wiener-Bronner, CNN
New York (CNN) — Taylor Swift can add a new title to her illustrious resume: box-office superstar.
In its opening weekend, the pop singer’s concert film, “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour,” raked in between $95 and $97 million in the box office in the United States and Canada, movie theater chain AMC said Sunday. That makes it the highest-ever grossing concert film domestically, according to AMC. Previously, the record was held by “Justin Bieber: Never Say Never,” which debuted in 2011, the company said.
AMC, which also is the distributor of the film, expects “Eras” to play “to big audiences for weeks to come,” Elizabeth Frank, AMC’s executive vice president of worldwide programming and chief content officer, said in a statement.
Comscore estimated that the film brought in $96 million in the domestic box office market this weekend, dwarfing other movies including “The Exorcist: Believer” and “Paw Patrol: The Mighty Movie.”
In cities where Swift performed, ridership on public transit spiked and hotel occupancy skyrocketed. Santa Clara, the tech-rich city located in Northern California, briefly became “Swiftie Clara.” In Seattle, dancing Swifties caused seismic activity that one seismologist said was equal to a 2.3 magnitude earthquake.
The film gives fans who couldn’t score a ticket (because of the Ticketmaster debacle or their cost) a chance to sing, dance, dress up and swap home-made Eras bracelets with other Swifties. The movie, directed by Sam Wrench, is nearly three hours long and was filmed over three nights at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles this summer.
There were heightened expectations leading to the release of the film, which can be seen in 3,855 theaters in the US and Canada alone. AMC said earlier this month that the movie had already exceeded over $100 million in advance ticket sales.
“It took less than 24 hours for the Taylor Swift The Eras Tour concert film to shatter AMC’s US record for the highest ticket-sales revenue during a single day in AMC’s 103-year history,” AMC said at the time.
Swift, a 12-time Grammy winner, announced the movie in late August, posting on Instagram that tickets were already on sale.
“I thought I had seen everything with the Barbenheimer phenomenon,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore, which tracks box office numbers. But “this Taylor Swift movie seemingly came out of nowhere … and here it is now in theaters, generating blockbuster-movie style opening weekend numbers.”
He added that “to have a movie have this quick of a turnaround from when it’s announced, and then to wind up on big screens just a few weeks later, is somewhat unprecedented.” But Swift, with her legions of devoted fans, was able to pull it off by speaking to them directly through her social media channels, he noted.
First showings were initially slated for Friday, but additional shows were added Thursday and throughout the weekend due to “unprecedented demand,” Swift wrote this week on X, formerly known as Twitter.
The movie premiered on Wednesday night at The Grove, a retail and entertainment complex in Los Angeles. In attendance was Beyoncé, who has her own concert film, “Renaissance: A Film by Beyoncé,” coming out in December.
The Eras film is more good news for movie theaters, which have had a rough recovery from the pandemic but a great summer due in large part to “Barbie,” distributed by CNN’s parent company Warner Bros. Discovery, and “Oppenheimer.” Together, the two hits brought in nearly $2.4 billion in global box office sales this year, according to tracking site Box Office Mojo.
“Eras” will probably keep momentum going, Michael O’Leary, chief executive of the National Association of Theater Owners, previously told CNN, especially as theaters drum up excitement on their own.
AMC has sold collectible popcorn tubs and fountain drink cups in theaters and has been distributing free posters.
Barbenheimer and Swift’s concert film “puts movie theaters at the epicenter of the culture as the hub of cultural influence,” said Dergarabedian.
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CNN’s Krystal Hur contributed to this report.