In a surprising movie showdown, Martin Scorsese and Taylor Swift both debuted films in theaters this past weekend. Despite Taylor Swift’s continued dominance with her “Eras” tour, Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon had a successful opening as Apple Studios’ first major theatrical release.
According to AMC Theaters, Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour made an estimated $31 million over the weekend from 3,855 locations after a record-breaking opening weekend in North America of $92.8 million. This is due to an unusual agreement where the theater chain is exclusively showing Swift’s concert film on Thursdays through Sundays.
A significant number of Taylor Swift fans eagerly attended the movie during its opening weekend, with a majority of tickets being sold in advance. However, there was a sharp decline of 67% in sales during its second weekend, suggesting that The Eras Tour may have been primarily popular during its initial release.
However, The Eras Tour has demonstrated itself to be a unique movie experience. Within a few days, it surpassed all previous concert films in terms of box office revenue in North America, not adjusting for inflation. Worldwide, the film has earned $164.8 million in just two weeks.
The stakes were high for Killers of the Flower Moon, a film based on true events of a series of killings targeting the Osage tribe in the 1920s. This historical crime drama, with a budget of over $200 million, is Apple Studios’ biggest production to date. In collaboration with Paramount Pictures, the streaming giant released director Martin Scorsese’s adaptation of David Grann’s bestselling book in 3,628 theaters, with plans to later make it available on Apple TV+.
Killers of the Flower Moon debuted in North America with $23m, which is the third best opening for 80-year-old Scorsese, following Shutter Island ($41m in 2010) and The Departed ($26.9m in 2006).
Though Scorsese’s latest opus, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Lily Gladstone and Robert De Niro, will have a hard road to reaching profitability, it’s a successful launch for a 206-minute-long adult-skewing drama – a type of movie that, outside Oppenheimer, has struggled mightily at the box office in recent years.
The movie, Killers of the Flower Moon, has received great reviews, an “A-” score from CinemaScore, and strong support for its Oscar campaign. It is expected to have a successful run in the long term. It also made $21 million internationally, bringing its global earnings to $44 million.
The debut of Killer of the Flower Moon has set a new record for the highest-grossing release of a film from a streaming company. While Netflix (which also funded director Scorsese’s previous film, The Irishman, in 2019) has typically followed a limited theatrical release strategy, Apple and Amazon, who recently acquired MGM, have taken a more extensive approach to theatrical distribution.
Apple announced earlier this year that it intends to invest $1 billion annually in producing films that will first be released in theaters before becoming available on its streaming platform. Additionally, Apple is involved in the production of Ridley Scott’s upcoming film “Napoleon” featuring Joaquin Phoenix, which will be distributed by Sony Pictures on November 22nd. The company has also teamed up with Universal for Matthew Vaughn’s “Argylle,” set for release on February 2nd.
Initially, Paramount agreed to produce and distribute Killers of the Flower Moon. However, they later transitioned the deal to Apple due to increased costs during the pandemic filming.
According to David A Gross, founder of the movie consulting company Franchise Entertainment Research, the concept of “flexibility” has become a key focus in the film industry. This has led to a major accomplishment, as it presents a feasible solution for movie companies.
Although Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour and Killers of the Flower Moon are vastly different, they share a common trait of having long run times. Watching both of these top movies back-to-back would have amounted to six hours and 14 minutes, excluding any commercials or previews.
Paramount reported that the film Killers of the Flower Moon attracted a surprising number of younger audience members, as 44% of ticket purchasers were under the age of 30.
“The horror sequel, Exorcist: The Believer, directed by David Gordon Green, earned $5.6 million in its third weekend at the box office, bringing its domestic total to $54.2 million.”
The movie “Paw Patrol: The Mighty Movie” ranked fourth in its fourth weekend with a total of $4.5 million. In fifth place was the re-release of Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” which earned $4.1 million, 30 years after its initial release in theaters.