Fans Came Out to Celebrate the Release of “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour” in Movie Theaters.


It was the night of Friday, Oct. 13, and Swifties were trading horror stories.

Fans of the pop star Taylor Swift spoke of sold-out arenas and endless Ticketmaster queues. In some cases, their nightmares had come true: They had not been able to secure tickets to the singer’s Eras Tour.

Those spurned fans appeared among the most eager to see the tour — or at least a version of it — when Ms. Swift’s concert film arrived in cinemas this week.

At theaters in New York, they clutched Taylor Swift-branded popcorn tubs and squeezed the ball gowns they were wearing between arm rests. If the film was not a perfect replacement for the full tour experience, several moviegoers said they considered it a decent consolation prize.

Vincent Dotoli stood several heads above a gaggle of sixth graders outside the AMC Lincoln Square 13. Mr. Dotoli, 54, a head of school in Harlem, had considered driving his daughter to Toronto for cheaper Eras Tour tickets, but prices “in the thousands” still proved prohibitive. She and five of her friends went to see the movie instead.

“I don’t actually know if they’d be that much more excited” to see the tour live, he said. Then he reconsidered. “I mean, yes, they would be more excited. But their enthusiasm is over-the-top for this.”

He added: “And I don’t have to drive to Toronto.”

Tickets to the movie cost $19.89 for adults, a nod to Ms. Swift’s birth year and one of her album titles, and $13.13 for young children. By comparison, some tickets to her live show were being offered on the resale market for more than $3,000.

After a presale for the pop star’s tour descended into chaos last year, the planned public sale was canceled by Ticketmaster. “All I can say is that my hope is to provide more opportunities for us to all get together and sing these songs,” Ms. Swift wrote in a statement responding to the debacle.

The film’s cost and availability were the main selling points for fans, many of whom had already gone to the tour but craved a less expensive encore. Some mourned the lack of a live concert atmosphere, but others cheered the fact that they could actually see Ms. Swift, compared with the speck they would have seen from the cheap seats.

Kelsey Taylor, 27, who works in public relations and lives in Manhattan, tried to buy tickets secondhand when Ms. Swift’s tour arrived at MetLife stadium in New Jersey in May. She said she had not been able to find any for less than $1,000: “I love Taylor Swift, but that’s like a month of rent.”

She saw the movie with friends at the Regal Union Square on Friday. They happily paid an extra $19.89 apiece at the concessions stand for an Eras Tour-themed soda and popcorn combo. “Compared to what the concert tickets were, this is nothing,” Ms. Taylor said.

Analysts expect the concert film to break box-office records. Estimates for its opening weekend keep being nudged upward, from $75 million to $125 million. The movie may also be benefiting from frenzied speculation about Ms. Swift’s rumored relationship with Travis Kelce, a tight end for Kansas City’s N.F.L. team.

In the lobbies at AMC and Regal, it was easy to tell who was not there to see “The Exorcist: Believer.” Two moviegoers wore deep purple graduation caps and gowns, a reference to Ms. Swift’s commencement speech at New York University in 2022. Hope Urbonas, 20, a college student, decided to wear her prom dress again because it reminded her of the one Ms. Swift wore on the cover of the album “Speak Now.” She accessorized with a Trader Joe’s tote bag.

Mariana Fernández, 38, a fitness instructor in New York, wore a top that shimmered with sequins the size of nickels. Ms. Fernández, who often plays Ms. Swift’s songs during the workout classes she teaches, had not been able to obtain Eras Tour tickets. “I had the biggest FOMO,” she said.

The fear of missing out was a theme of the evening.

Samantha Blackwood, 13, attended the Eras Tour as part of her friend’s bat mitzvah. Her mother, Laura James, 53, is also a fan of Ms. Swift — but she never made it past Ticketmaster’s online waiting room. There appeared to be no hard feelings when the two saw the movie together on Friday. “I’m just grateful that she got to go,” Ms. James said.

When a showing ended at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Downtown Brooklyn, tweens flooded the lobby and lined up to pose with a cardboard poster of Ms. Swift.

They were not shy to share their reviews of the film. Jhansi Nori, 11, said that she was impressed by Ms. Swift’s stamina onstage. At 2 hours 48 minutes long, the film demands some stamina of audience members, too.

“I personally did not want to go,” said her twin brother, Shaan Nori, but he confessed that he ended up having a good time. Had it brought him any closer to being a Swiftie? “I guess,” he said.


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