Photo by Raphael Lovaski on Unsplash

The post-Eras era: How Taylor Swift’s movie could change the musical-movie experience

Will sing-along showings of popular musicals bring fans to movie theaters?

“Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour” has arrived in cinemas and become an instant success, crossing the $100 million threshold at the box office.

“Swifties” have been eagerly awaiting its theatrical release, especially excited by theaters disbanding regular theater etiquette and Ms. Swift’s own encouragements to dress up, sing along, and record as many videos as they like.

This decision has sparked a debate about expected behavior while watching films on the big screen; however, complaints ring hollow when many say that they loved singing and dancing with fellow fans, accompanied by glowing reviews of the movie itself.

“Renaissance: A Film by Beyoncé,” capturing the Renaissance World Tour, is also coming to theaters on Dec. 1, although there have been no announcements if it will follow the “Eras” team’s suit in suspending traditional theater etiquette.

This raises a question: Could moviemakers create more experiences like this in the future?

Producers now know that there is a profit; not only in this type of film, but the feel of attending a real concert and treating the theater space as stadium-style recreation.

Beloved performances of pop culture are often inaccessible to many because of ticket prices and travel costs. Tickets to the recorded SoFi Stadium concert cost $600 to $700 for the “nosebleed” seats.  Having a recording released in theaters helps recreate the experience for everyone.

Musical theater has a similar accessibility problem.

“Hamilton” tickets were going for hundreds of dollars in the 2010s, making it virtually impossible for many fans to ever attend a performance. This show was also recorded, but it premiered on Disney+, forgoing the theater option.

Movie adaptations of popular musicals including “Mean Girls,” “The Color Purple,” and “Wicked” are also coming soon.

While film adaptations are different from a recording of an on-stage performance—produced as a standard movie following the plot and including the soundtrack of a musical—they do provide another way to make live performances more accessible.

Screaming every lyric is standard at an in-person concert, but at a play or musical, the audience is expected to sit silently. However, after the success of “Eras,” may theaters consider having more sing-along showings of popular musicals?

With “Eras” here and “Renaissance” coming, there are now new opportunities to transform the musical experience at the movies. In the age of streaming services, this could be another way to get people to come to the movie theaters, in search of a community event which cannot be found at home.

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