How to evaluate the movie "Taylor Swift: The Reputation Stadium Tour"?

The Surprising Popularity of Taylor Swift’s Concert Film

Which movie ended the long reign of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” on various platforms' “want to see” index?

It was none other than the concert film of Taylor Swift, nicknamed “Mei Mei” by her Chinese fans, titled “Taylor Swift: The Era Tour Concert.” In the eyes of some movie fans, it couldn’t even “count as a movie.”

On December 15, the trailer was released and the movie was scheduled for December 31. As soon as the news came out, its popularity soared on all major ticket-selling platforms, leading by a significant margin. Data from the Lighthouse Professional Edition showed that as of 19:25 last night, its “want to see” number had surged by nearly 70,000 in a single day. The figures following it were for “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” and “If You Are the One 3,” both of which had less than 3,000 new data yesterday. In the latest weekly word-of-mouth list updated by Douban, the film jumped 10 places to take the top spot.

The high popularity of this new film, however, has led to entirely different perceptions among industry insiders and audiences. Some people believe that “concert movies” expand the boundaries of cinema and the range of services of theaters. They look forward to the day when musicals, live sports broadcasts, and other fresh elements become the norm in this field. Others argue that such “movies” can neither highlight the atmosphere of the concert nor have the narrative nature of movies. “Will anyone other than fans pay for it?”

Is it a Concert Replacement?

On Douban, the introduction to the film reads: “The film records the global pop music superstar Taylor Swift’s 2023 Era world tour’s charismatic stage, featuring many classic tracks from Taylor’s music career, while restoring the live spectacle of the tour, creating a ‘great, worthwhile, and fantastic’ audio-visual feast.”

However, before the release date was set, some platforms described the film more bluntly: “To satisfy fans who can’t get tickets, the entire recording of ‘Taylor Swift: The Era Tour Concert’ will hit the theaters.”

In the eyes of some movie fans, the former is nothing but a glamorous use of PR language. Essentially, as the latter suggests, the film is a concert recording that may have gone through camera conversion, image editing, and sound collection.

Taylor Swift performing at an award ceremony (Photo source: Xinhua News Agency)

“Right now, for the most popular singers in China, you have to spend thousands of yuan to sit at the ‘top of the mountain’ at their concerts, and your view might still be blocked by speakers, pillars, or the audience in front, leaving you to watch the idol’s charm through a big screen,” said Ms. Fei, a die-hard fan of Taylor Swift. “Is it not a good deal to watch a top-level concert for the price of a movie ticket, with the best position, most exquisite composition?”

Qin Xiao, a citizen who followed several concerts this year, straightforwardly calls concert-going an “art of regret.” “I once only got the highest tier ticket for a concert. You can’t clearly see the people on stage, but the almost overhead view allows you to fully appreciate the lighting and choreography, which are stunning. You can’t see these sitting in the inner field.” In his view, recording a concert as a movie achieves the best of both worlds and allows audiences to explore behind the scenes, “Isn’t this a great innovation?”

However, for some music and movie fans, such innovation touches the foundation of both performance styles. “If you want to enjoy good visuals and perfect singing, just play high-definition music videos at home. Why go to a live venue?” Mr. Wei, a citizen who loves to follow concerts and various live performances, believes that the charm of live performance lies precisely in being “live.” “The live performance of the singer is often imperfect, but it’s this imperfection that touches the heart.” Mr. Wei once attended Faye Wong’s concert at the Hongkou Stadium, where it rained heavily throughout the event, “With lightning and thunder on one side and the rumbling of the light rail on the other, Faye Wong slipped in the rain. Twenty years later, I still remember it vividly; you won’t have such a strong emotional resonance if you’re not there.”

“Whether it’s a documentary or a drama, every type of movie has a narrative foundation,” explained Hu Xiao, a seasoned movie fan. From award-winning “Bohemian Rhapsody” to classic “The Bodyguard,” the concert scenes in these films are relished by movie fans, but the core is still the story. “Without narrative support, can a pure concert support the big screen?” Some theater managers admit that even if the sound effect is not a problem, it’s currently difficult for theaters to reproduce the stage beauty of concerts. “Stage lighting is three-dimensional, but it becomes flat on the big screen.”

Exclusive to Fans?

As one of the most influential singers in Europe and America, Taylor Swift, born in December 1989, has hundreds of millions of fans on social media worldwide. In China, her popularity is no less formidable. In 2020, her album “Folklore” sold 200,000 copies on QQ Music on the day of its release.

Ms. Fei said her fans are mostly young people who have “grown up with her and been inspired and encouraged by her.” Data from the Lighthouse Professional Edition on the audience of this film show that viewers under 30 account for the absolute majority. The largest group is 20-24 years old, accounting for 43.7%; followed by teenagers, about 23.7%, and the 25-29 age group accounts for 21.5%. The “want to see” audience group highly overlaps with the fan age group.

“This kind of viewing atmosphere might be unprecedented.” The movie had already been released in North America in October of this year. Liu Jieyu, who is studying in the United States, and her friends went to watch it. “Everyone was singing along and clapping, more like watching a concert than a movie.” A Canadian IP address user on Douban also commented, “Everyone was singing along to every song, and applauding and cheering after each one,” “It’s almost like being at the tour venue.” Ms. Fei said she would buy tickets to invite friends and family to watch, “After all, compared to concert tickets, movie tickets are much more affordable. I hope more people can feel this charm.”

The movie received a high score of 9.4 on Douban, a standard reached by “The Long Season” in the same year. However, according to Hu Xiao, although both have the same Douban rating, their quality might not be comparable. “Only 5,000 people rated this movie, and most of them are probably fans. ‘The Long Season’ was rated by 880,000 people, and the actors are not on the ‘popular’ track, so it will be closer to the general audience’s feelings.” Some viewers believe that if the fan attribute is too strong, it often has an exclusivity, and some general viewers might “instinctively reject” it.

With the release imminent, Shanghai cinema managers have mixed opinions. “How many fans does Taylor Swift really have?” Ms. Wang, a cinema manager, said she still has a wait-and-see attitude about the box office of the film in China. “Some theaters have started pre-sales. Let’s see how they sell before making a judgment.”

Ms. Wang’s concerns are not unfounded. The Taiwanese band Mayday, which recently sparked lip-syncing controversy, has had several movies released in mainland China. The earliest traceable one is “Chasing Dreams 3DNA” from 2011, which was centered around a Mayday concert and interspersed with three short stories. However, these films did not achieve particularly bright box office results, with the best performer being “Mayday Life” from 2019, which earned 50.208 million yuan.

“Whether Taylor Swift’s popularity in China can surpass Mayday is a question mark,” Ms. Wang said frankly. Concert movies are specially for fans, “Fans might watch it 10 times, and the box office depends on the singer’s popularity. If Jay Chou’s concert movie were released in China, the box office would probably be good.”

“Mei Mei has many fans, and the box office should not be bad,” another cinema manager, Zhang Dong, is more knowledgeable about Taylor Swift than Ms. Wang. In his view, presenting a concert directly in movie form in Chinese cinemas has a certain novelty for the audience. Zhang Dong is currently preparing for “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’s” “snow scene.” In his view, young people nowadays would buy tickets for a “snow” event and would also be willing to try watching a concert in a cinema.

Will There Be Opera Movies?

“Taylor Swift: The Era Tour Concert” was already released in North America in October of this year and has been smashing box office records. Data show that the film earned $45 million on its first day in North America, breaking the record for the highest October opening day box office held by “Joker” for four years. The global box office of the film has now reached $249 million.

Taylor Swift is not the first singer to bring her concert to the big screen. Previously, Madonna, Justin Bieber, and other singers have also moved their concerts to the big screen. Another singer, Beyoncé’s “Beyoncé: Renaissance,” was also released on December 1, and its current box office is approximately $36.12 million.

In October 2009, “This Is It,” a documentary about Michael Jackson, who passed away in June of that year, was introduced to China and earned 48.3 million yuan. With a box office of $261 million, the film temporarily ranks first in the global box office of concert movies, but this record is likely to be broken by Taylor Swift’s film.

In addition to Mayday, the earliest concert movie in China can be traced back to Leslie Cheung’s “Passion Tour” in 2000. In addition, Cui Jian released “Beyond That Day,” Wang Leehom has “Open Fire,” and even pianist Lang Lang has a film titled “Sonata of Passion.” However, compared to Taylor Swift’s box office myth, these movies generally did not perform well.

According to insiders, Taylor Swift’s film did not negotiate with traditional film production companies but directly cooperated with North America’s three major chains AMC, Regal, and Cinemark. Renowned director Christopher Nolan once commented on this, “Taylor Swift is about to show her strength to the movie companies.”

A non-typical movie’s global box office rise, what inspiration does it bring to domestic practitioners?

Although Ms. Wang is not very optimistic about the box office of this film, she agrees with such arrangements and attempts, “The film’s schedule is set for December 31, which is very good. It will attract some viewers who want to spend New Year’s Eve in the cinema.”

Liu Jieyu introduced that the viewing experience of this movie is completely different from traditional movies, “You don’t have to sit in your seat, nor do you have to keep quiet. Everyone can bring glow sticks, wear peripheral clothing and support items, and enjoy the event together.” In Zhang Dong’s view, more concert movies will enter the market in the future, “In recent years, stage plays, concerts, etc., are all breaking through. They have moved the venue of the performance from the big theater to the cinema. Concert movies are considered to have expected investment returns and will attract more capital to enter the field.”

Faced with market changes, cinemas that used to just show movies and sell popcorn are also seeking innovation. On November 19, the League of Legends Global Finals was held, and many Shanghai Wanda Cinemas held synchronous cinema viewing events. The viewing ticket was about the same price as a movie ticket, and in addition to feeling the atmosphere of the esports event on the big screen and cheering for the Chinese team, attendees could also receive a silver crown viewing custom support gift pack. According to the system’s ticket sales display, except for a remote suburban cinema that had tickets left, other cinemas were sold out early, and some even added a few more sessions.

This year, during the animated film “Slam Dunk’s” release period, many fans dressed up as characters from the film, and many cinemas also launched “support sessions” for individual characters. Moviegoers turned into sports fans in the cinema, cheering for the characters in the film. SHO Shanghai Cinema has launched “special sessions” for movies such as “Want to See You,” “Through the Cold Winter to Embrace You,” and “Slam Dunk” in recent years, targeting the special needs of the audience.

China Film’s own screening brand “Reserved Screening” allows viewers to relive classic films through reserved group screenings. Ma Wei, deputy manager of the Beijing Film Distribution Branch of China Film Corporation Limited, stated that in addition to screening new films, it might attempt to introduce more content such as plays, musicals, concerts, opera stage documentaries, etc., into cinemas in the future. With the enhancement of high-definition technology, stage works might have a more comprehensive and no-dead-angle presentation, also bringing a differentiated appreciation experience from theaters.

With “Taylor Swift: The Era Tour Concert” set to release, some cinema managers have revealed that they have received calls from Swift fans inquiring about private screenings last night, “Cinemas in the future will be more diverse and interesting.”

Column editor: Shi Chenlu

Article authors: Jian Gongbo, Zhong Han

Here I come

Taylor Swift’s Concert Extravaganza

The movie is nearly three hours long, documenting 40 songs from Taylor Swift’s 10 albums. Truly a dazzling array, it’s overwhelming to the eyes. After watching the latter half, I almost completely forgot the earlier part. What struck me the most in the first half were the opening countdown and Taylor’s beautiful and melodious singing, making one marvel at how if she were my English teacher singing English songs daily, I would have no worries about learning the language.

The second half still resonates with her album “Folklore”, featuring folk rock, country music, and a stage designed like a moss-covered eco-house. There were various Hollywood blockbuster-like stage effects, including choreography reminiscent of Downton Abbey, scenes where Mad Max meets angels, Matrix color schemes, and the lead singer-dance combos of Matrix 2.

The urban series followed, including tales of New York, Dutch girls biking, Urban Girl 2.0, scenes reminiscent of Inception, a transition from Aquaman to Rain Man, Wonder Woman costumes, and more stunning cinematography. Taylor is here to tell you why Hollywood movies aren’t cutting it this year—because her Era Tour concert is the showstopper, brimming with creativity and overshadowing a whole array of 2023 Hollywood blockbusters.

And let’s not forget the most stunning snake woman costume, making a powerful entrance, rivaling superheroines in dominance. Director Sam Lynch is quite impressive, turning a top female singer’s music biopic into such a heart-stopping effect. The movie also showcases Taylor’s multifaceted talent as an artist—skilled in guitar, piano, songwriting, stage presence, and emotive performance, presenting an astonishing feast for the senses.

Having just finished watching it late tonight, I’ll add pictures in the morning. Spending New Year’s Eve this way is quite special indeed. Wishing everyone a Happy New Year as well.

Amazing Experience!

The effect is super, super awesome! Be sure to choose the Dolby Atmos laser projection hall for the evening show with a crowded audience! I’ve been to many live concerts this year, and to be honest, the Taylor Swift movie’s effects are no worse than a live performance, and in some ways, even better, because of the large screen and excellent indoor audiovisual effects! Of course, the atmosphere is definitely not as good as a live concert.

Highly, highly recommend it! I watched the New Year’s Eve show, and everyone was excited. People in the front were waving glow sticks, and those in the back were dancing. It was the best cinema experience of 2023! The only downside is that there were Chinese subtitles but no English subtitles, which limited the participation of my foreign friends. Haha.

Don’t regret not going!

After watching it, I feel that I must go to the actual live event instead of just in the cinema.

Taylor Swift and Coldplay, you must listen to them!

P.S. Mainland concerts are really far behind.

Just finished watching it, and from 1989 onwards, it was all about dancing and having a blast. I must admit, I lost track of everyone in the later years, but it was still a lot of fun. I really want to experience it live.

I didn’t listen to music today, but I went straight to check her albums. The quality varies greatly. “High School Days” and “evermore” are good. “reputation” is pure garbage. The last track of “Red” is very good, but the others are not great. “folklore” is hard to say. She forced herself to be unlike herself and made a decent album, but I didn’t feel she put much of herself into it. “1989” is the opposite, very self-assured, and considered good. Her early works had charm and were not bad. “Midnight” is very retro, perhaps the best.

First time getting so up close with my mold, the girl next to me got so excited that she even dropped some tiny pearls, wah wah wah.

  1. Some people might not want to go to the cinema anymore when they think about it.

  2. I came here to listen to TS sing, not to listen to you babbling and making a fuss.

To be honest, although I, the small strawberry picker, have been harvested by the music-loving master, thinking about having such a diligent music producer with excellent results, I am content even if I am being harvested like a leek.

Isn’t it just blatantly harvesting leeks? Why is this trending…

Taylor Swift: A Remarkable Documentary

I’m not really a Taylor Swift fan; I’ve only heard a few of her most famous songs, like “Love Story” and “Red.” In this documentary, about eighty percent of the songs were unfamiliar to me, but that didn’t affect my enjoyment. During the three hours in the cinema, I felt thoroughly satisfied. Let me highlight what I particularly liked about it from the perspectives of song selection, visual effects, and the values it conveys.

Song Selection: The documentary divides Taylor’s career into different phases (albums), and each song chosen perfectly reflects her emotions during that period. From the innocence of high school love to the heartbreak of unrequited love, and later, the anger of being hurt by someone she loved, and her determination to protect herself. Through each song, you can feel her growth. Many people love Taylor because we’ve grown up with her. We’ve experienced the same pains she has, embraced the same thorns, and her music expresses not only her but also us, comforting us.

Visual Effects: Taylor’s makeup was stunning, seamlessly blending female beauty and strength. The sequins and fringes were perfect for the stage. The stage design was outstanding, full of storytelling elements, such as folklore segments and the “reputation” segment (the opening giant snake was breathtaking). The backup dancers were energetic, and the choreography was powerful. Taylor herself, with her singing and dancing, exuded a vibrant life force.

Values Conveyed: The values conveyed here aren’t limited to the concert itself but run through Taylor’s songwriting and permeate every song. Regarding the concert, one detail stood out - the diversity of the backup dancers, representing different skin colors, body types, and genders. From the beginning to the end of the documentary, you can feel the values Taylor champions: equality, kindness, bravery, and justice. Hoping for beautiful relationships but not being wounded by them. Gentle yet strong, independent yet free.

Whether you’re a Taylor Swift fan or not, whether you’ve heard her songs or not, I think you should go to the cinema to watch this documentary. Just watching her sing there, shining brightly, is an exquisite pleasure.

2024 is coming soon, and I hope the new year brings smooth sailing in all endeavors.

  • It’s the official live recording, as a live event, the cost-effectiveness is extremely high, with Dolby cinema audio at its best, and it’s affordable.

  • It started promptly at 21:17 on New Year’s Eve, and at 00:00, Taylor began her farewell with fireworks, creating an electric atmosphere.

  • Everyone in the entire cinema is wishing each other a Happy New Year, it’s so cheerful.

  • The only downside to the domestic version is a bit inconsiderate – only Chinese subtitles?!

  • Lyrics for English songs at the concert are displayed in Chinese?!

  • Oh, I get it now, singing along to every song is undoubtedly for true fans of love.

Moved to tears, it feels like attending a concert.

Taylor Swift’s “The Era Tour” Concert Film to Be Released in Mainland China!

According to Douban data, the film’s duration is 170 minutes and is expected to premiere in December this year.

In the form of a documentary, this film opens up a unique visual feast, chronicling the journey through Taylor Swift’s music career. It is reported that Alibaba has acquired the rights to Taylor Swift’s “The Era Tour” concert film for a whopping 600 million RMB.

The concert tour began on March 18, 2023, marking her 5th world tour since her debut. This extensive tour kicked off in Glendale, Arizona, and for those two days, the city was renamed to “Swiftville.”

On August 9, after a 5-month-long “Era Tour” in the United States, it concluded successfully. Its impact is undeniable, giving rise to the “Taylornomics” phenomenon. The concert tour’s revenue has already reached 4.1 billion USD, stimulating an economic effect of up to 5 billion USD, surpassing the GDP of more than 35 countries, drawing attention from institutions like the Federal Reserve.

On September 4, the concert film presales reached a staggering 30 million USD, surpassing the record set by “Avengers: Endgame” in its year of release. Recently, at the MTV Video Music Awards, Taylor Swift won 9 awards, including the prestigious Video of the Year. These achievements and influence echo the name of the tour itself, “Taylor Swift’s The Era Tour.”

Watch the official trailer on the website (Released on December 13, 2013, available on major streaming platforms excluding Mainland China):

{Watch Trailer}

Immersed in the Rhythm of the Live Concert: Taylor Swift’s Unforgettable Performance

The Dolby Theater opened at 9:17 PM, and the entire experience was like being in a live concert, with people jumping, shouting, and tears of excitement. While the live experience was more exhilarating, the recorded version offers a more dazzling visual and auditory spectacle. She looked incredibly beautiful, especially during the moment when she lifted her dress to reveal her leg garter, and the most stunning part was her transformation into a mermaid as she leaped off the stage. The most touching moment was her 10-minute acoustic guitar solo of “All Too Well.”

Three hours felt surprisingly short. When the show ended, it was exactly midnight, and the whole audience shouted “Happy New Year!” The echoes lingered, making it difficult to fall asleep. I must go to bed now, and I’ll listen to it again tomorrow. Happy New Year, everybody!

Century Grand Celebration for Fans

Awesome!!! Love to watch

I’m very happy, and I appreciate the joy brought to me by others.