“Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour” movie has cleared multiple stages of approvals and will release in mainland Chinese theaters on Dec. 31.
The announcement, foreshadowed by Variety earlier this month, was made at 1.13pm (or 13.13) on Friday in China, a reference to Swift’s birth date and lucky number.
That date puts the concert film’s China outing more than two months after its worldwide release and some two weeks after two weeks after its online release in many international territories.
December’s Christmas and calendar New Year period is normally a peak season for film-going in China, ahead of fallow January weeks in which few major movies choose to release. And this year many Hollywood movies have struggled to connect with Chinese audiences,
But those negatives are unlikely to be much of a drawback in a market where Swift has millions of die-hard fans. The picture will also be welcomed as an event movie that can benefit from dynamic pricing practices and play at the country’s many premium large format venues. Imax has close to 1,000 screens in China.
The film, which has grossed some $250 million worldwide since debuting on Oct. 13, needed to be reviewed by Chinese authorities. Separate bodies must approve the import of foreign movies and the content all films destined for public release.
Normally too, all film imports must be handled by a state-owned entity. But China is beginning to trial a new degree of flexibility that would allow exhibitors and distributors to take on the role of importer and be credited as the designated distributor. That system was recently applied for the Dec. 22 re-release of “La La Land.”
It is not explicitly confirmed that the new system is being used for “The Eras Tour, but the film’s non-studio origin and its unusual event-movie status, would make it an ideal candidate.
It was, however, announced that Alibaba Pictures acquired the rights to the concert movie via Trafalgar Releasing. It will release the film in partnership with the state-owned distributor China Film Group.