Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour Sets Record, Signaling Disney’s Challenge

Taylor Swift in Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour in front of a Disney+ sign.

Disney+ recently disclosed the viewing figures for Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour’s debut weekend on the streaming platform, but the numbers are causing concern. The concert film, directed by Sam Wrench and produced by Swift herself, initially premiered in theaters in October 2023 to great success. It quickly became the highest-grossing concert movie ever, earning $261.7 million at the box office.

After its theatrical run, Disney+ secured the streaming rights to the film, releasing “Taylor’s Version” in March 2024. This updated version included all the songs missing from the original release, which undoubtedly contributed to its marketing appeal. However, despite its strong start, the viewing totals for the film’s opening weekend on Disney+ highlight challenges for the platform.

During its first three days on Disney+, Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour amassed 4.6 million views and 16.2 million viewing hours, setting a record for the platform’s most successful concert movies. While these figures are impressive, they fall short compared to the performance of many Netflix original movies within the same timeframe. For instance, Netflix’s Damsel garnered 35.3 million views and 64.8 viewing hours after its premiere in March 2024.

Taylor Swift performs

One explanation for the disparity is Disney+’s subscriber base, which stood at around 150 million at the end of 2023, significantly fewer than Netflix’s 260 million. Although Disney+ offers a vast library of Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars content, it struggles to match the diverse catalog and broad appeal of Netflix. Despite this, Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour remains a valuable addition to Disney+’s lineup, with the streaming platform reportedly paying $75 million for its streaming rights.

The release of “Taylor’s Version” on Disney+ also introduced five new songs not included in the original release: “Cardigan,” “I Can See You,” “Maroon,” “Death By A Thousand Cuts,” and “You Are In Love.” While the film may not reach the same heights as Netflix’s releases, it still represents an important asset for Disney+ as it seeks to expand its content offerings and attract new subscribers.

Taylor Swift bows with her backup dancers during "Karma" finale in The Eras Tour movie.

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