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Taylor Swift Could Decimate Marvel & DC Movies

Taylor Swift once wrote a song called "Superman" about some guy she met, but she might metaphorically crush that same DC hero at the box office before long. Also, she might do the exact same thing to the entirety of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

This all may seem like wild hyperbole, but hang tight. It's been a banner couple of years for Swift. In 2020, she dropped two surprise sister albums, "folklore" and "evermore," which were preceded by her version of her second-ever album "Fearless" (after record executives screwed her out of the rights to her master recordings, she vowed to simply re-do her entire back catalog on her own). In 2021, "Red (Taylor's Version)" was an immediate success, and in 2022, she turned the clock forward for "Midnights," her tenth studio album. Once she announced the career-spanning Eras Tour — which kicked off in March of 2023 in Arizona and is now expanded through 2024 across the world — it was clear that the artist was at the top of her game, and she's been unstoppable as her massive tour continues.

What does this have to do with the MCU or DCEU, though? Well, when Swift announced that the filmed version of the Eras Tour would come to theaters on October 13, 2023, it immediately broke box office records and shifted other release dates around... in a year where MCU and DCEU movies have largely floundered or even flatlined at the box office. So could Swift become the next box-office superhero?

The Eras Tour concert film is projected to make a ton of money...

After Ticketmaster repeatedly crashed over Taylor Swift ticket sales — both in the United States and abroad, as the singer's Paris shows ended up sending Ticketmaster France into dire straits early into its sale — AMC was, as Swift herself would say, "ready for it." A short queue for pre-sale movie tickets led Swifties to a page that let them book tickets at participating theaters, and book they did. 

According to The Hollywood Reporter, tickets for the Eras Tour concert movie made it to $26 million in just a single day; this easily topped the $19 million record previously held by "Spider-Man: No Way Home," one of the biggest MCU movies in recent memory. This is, as THR notes, taking into account that AMC plans to hold at least four separate showtimes for the entire opening weekend, including that Thursday ... which makes this all much more enormous. All in all, it's estimated that the opening weekend could rake in over $150 million.

Cinemark's chief marketing and content officer, Wanda Gierhart Fearing, said this in a statement obtained by THR: "The record-breaking advance sales happening at our theaters across the United States for 'Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour' showcase the incomparable joy that comes from taking in unbelievable content in an immersive environment together with friends, family and fellow fans. "Her tour's sensational attraction, which is now continuing across exhibition, drove frenzied traffic to our website and app the moment tickets went on sale, and we are ready for Swifties to be enchanted by this concert film in the unprecedented number of auditoriums we have booked to meet demand for the shared, musical experience."

...and superhero movies haven't been attracting huge numbers in 2023

This level of enthusiasm is in stark contrast to the superhero movies released this summer, which, to put it gently, haven't exactly exceeded any expectations. Even the superhero movies that fared pretty well, like "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3," didn't crack $150 million during their opening weekend, which "Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour" could potentially surpass without a problem. MCU's movies, like "Guardians" and the Marvel-adjacent "Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse," at least performed better than DC's offerings, which decidedly flopped.

The opening weekend grosses of "The Flash," "Shazam! Fury of the Gods," and "Blue Beetle" barely crack $100 million combined, painting an incredibly bleak picture for the DCEU against both the MCU and any other opposition. ("The Flash," in particular, is one of the studio's biggest losses in some time.) Middling reviews, ongoing strikes, and troubled productions plagued some of these releases, but the fact remains that simply slapping a comic book character's name onto a giant, expensive movie doesn't guarantee butts in seats anymore; audiences are craving something new.

The age of superhero movies may be coming to a 'swift' end

It could be easy — tempting, even — to chalk this all up to the Swift-mania that's been seemingly inescapable ever since the initial Eras Tour announcement. While competing against a superstar like Taylor Swift, who seems to break a different record every time one of her custom Christian Louboutin boots hits the Eras stage, is definitely a challenge in its own right, superhero movies have been struggling against their peers too ... like original films made by beloved auteurs.

Take "Barbie" and "Oppenheimer" — or, as many would call the phenomenon, "Barbenheimer." "Barbie," directed and written by indie darling Greta Gerwig (and co-written by Gerwig's celebrated partner and fellow indie filmmaker Noah Baumbach), might be based on a world-famous toy, but it's also a subversive, sly movie that throws around references to Marcel Proust and Matchbox 20 in equal measure. "Oppenheimer" is a lengthy, carefully considered character study of a real-life scientist and his work on the atomic bomb, crafted by Christopher Nolan. Both of these movies performed incredibly well at the box office — especially "Barbie," which cracked one billion dollars within just a few weeks and set several records in the aftermath of that achievement.

For a while now, superhero movies dominated the box office ... but it looks like audiences might be looking for something different now, whether it's Taylor Swift or a new Nolan flick. It's been a "cruel summer" for superhero movies, and Swift, Nolan, and Gerwig all handily proved that moviegoers want more options.