Movie Songs

from cut songs to the snake

March 15, 20242 Mins Read

The 32-year-old director has plenty of experience with the format, having created live performance films for Billie Eilish, Lizzo and boy band megastars, BTS, while his film, Billie Eilish Live at the O2, was nominated for Best Music Film at the Grammys earlier this year. In addition, he directed the film for the recent Vogue World: London event at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane and has produced branded films featuring Lionel Messi, Mary J Blige and Joe Wicks among others. A talented skier, he considers Les Houches in the Alps and London as his hometowns. “Your faith has to be stronger than your fear,” he remarked in an interview a few years ago, perhaps anticipating the fact that he’d have to deal with a gaggle of irate Swifties after excising some of their favourite tunes from the movie (more on that later).

Taylor’s revolutionary business model

When Swift announced on August 31 that footage from her Eras Tour was to be released as a movie on October 13, it took everyone in Hollywood by surprise. Negotiations to make a concert film had already been in the works with major studios, but frustrated by their foot-dragging (some were suggesting a release as late as 2025), Swift and her father Scott, a former Merrill Lynch Vice President, struck a deal directly with the US cinema chain, AMC, to screen and distribute her movie (the cinemas taking 43 per cent of the gross, with Swift and AMC splitting the rest). After obtaining permission from the SAG-AFTRA union to film amidst the current Hollywood strike and footing the production costs herself, she effectively bypassed the Hollywood middle men and took the law of film-making into her own hands. As Swift herself would say: this was some vigilante s___.

The move was hailed by business site Bloomberg as ‘a once-unthinkable distribution deal’, with one cinema owner adding that Swift’s re-shaping of the business model meant that, “more talent will go: This is something I could do.” Indeed, Beyoncé said just that. The concert film of her recent Renaissance tour follows exactly the same template as the Swift/AMC deal and will be released in the US on December 1. Just to rub salt into the studios’ wounds, Beyoncé posed up a storm with Swift at her premiere last week.

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