Taylor Swift has built a wildly successful career by being meticulous. The premiere of her new concert film is no exception, playing for the first time earlier this week in exactly 13 cinemas across the US in honour of the singer’s lucky number.
Even the ticket prices are consistent with this: in a nod to the upcoming Taylor’s Version of her influential album 1989 (October 27) adult tickets will set Stateside Swifties back $19.89, or $13.13 for children and seniors (most cinemas in the UK, where it lands today, will adopt the same cryptic pricing). Its short theatrical run, a bid to keep screens as packed-out and gleeful as possible, is also entirely deliberate.
After The Eras Tour’s US leg made history as one of the highest-grossing outings of all time, its big screen counterpart looks set to smash records too. A week before opening, it had already raked in $100 million (£82 million) in advance ticket sales, with Swift ultimately releasing the film a day early in the US to meet demand. “Look what you made me do,” she quipped, quoting 2017’s song of the same name. This last minute move is expected to rake in a further $50 million (£41 million) in ticket sales. Swifties at the earliest showing of the film belted out the epic, 10 minute edition of fist-clenching break-up banger All Too Well, and hopped out of seats to join in with the choreography for 2014’s Shake It Off. The enthusiasm around the film has attracted several comparisons to the frenzy that met Barbenheimer.
“The Eras Tour film feels like a present to those fans — the ones who have packed into arenas over the last seven months and those who were unable to get their hands on tickets,” wrote one keen critic.
While an abundance of perfectly hidden clues and Easter eggs remain in her music, however, Taylor Swift herself appears to be embracing chaos elsewhere, and the world is going wild for it.
Surprising fans at The Eras Tour film’s Los Angeles premiere, Swift rocked up with none other than Beyoncé — set to release her own Renaissance concert film in December — on her arm. “She’s been a guiding light throughout my career and the fact that she showed up tonight was like an actual fairy tale,” Swift gushed later. Of course, the internet lost its mind.
And in general, Swift seems to be having fun revelling in the ridiculousness of her current chaos era. Historically a very private person, she writes songs clearly based on personal experience, but has previously refused to discuss her six-year relationship with her actor ex-boyfriend Joe Alwyn. “I just need some things that are mine,” she said in 2019.
More recently though, it seems she’s... just stopped caring. When a short-lived post-break-up fling with The 1975’s Matty Healy sent certain Swifties into full-blown crisis mode (some even began debating show boycotts) the singer continued cavorting around New York and engaging in moderate PDA with her beau. Now, she’s widely rumoured to be dating Kansas City Chiefs star Travis Kelce, and far from creeping into his matches in some sort of elaborate disguise, Swift — often holding a vodka cranberry aloft in the stands — has been a wildly cheering fixture of many of his games.
The morning before one game, Kelce made no effort whatsoever to evade paparazzi as he left Swift’s apartment — even wishing them a “good morning”. But in a genius agent-of chaos move, Swift later left the stadium arm-in-arm with Sophie Turner, whom she has taken firmly under her wing following the Game of Thrones star’s split from her husband and father of her two children, Joe Jonas (deliciously, Jonas is also Swift’s ex).
Elsewhere, Swift’s been busy befriending the Bronx rapper Ice Spice. Conceivably, it’s a show of solidarity in direct response to Healy’s unfortunate appearance on Adam Friedland’s podcast earlier this year, in which hosts Friedland and Nick Mullen made offensive jokes about the rapper’s heritage — referring to her as Inuit and Chinese, and imitating and mocking the accents of each — as Healy laughed along. In which case Swift and Ice Spice seeming completely unbothered and “sipping on a little something something” together at the VMAs while raucously cackling like two pals at a hen party feels like the perfect middle finger to the whole thing.
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Stealing the show, though, improbably, has been Swift’s recently revealed fast and loose approach to condiments. Oh yes. At her first Kansas City Chiefs game, eagle-eyed fans noticed clear evidence that Swift had been double-dunking pieces of fried chicken into both ketchup AND what appeared to be ranch sauce. Now, I’ll level with you — I don’t know or care enough about condiment culture in the US to understand whether this is some kind of dreadful faux pas or an act of unsurpassed genius, but from some reactions you would think that Swift had spoken up in favour of a Yorkshire pudding burrito (to be clear: a good combination).
Anyway, the world naturally responded to this minor revelation in exactly the measured and proportional manner you might expect; Heinz hurriedly launched a limited edition bottle of ‘Ketchup and Seemingly Ranch’ to dunk into demand, while Swifties began inspecting every last pixel of the photograph to ID her sauce of choice.
As you may gather, Taylor Swift holds dangerous amounts of power right now, and she seems to be enjoying every last moment of giving the media and everyone else the run around. Long may she continue using this power for chaotic and benevolent good; I am enjoying every second of it. It might just be her greatest era yet.
Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour concert film is released today. 1989 (Taylor’s Version) is out on October 27