‘Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour’ Potentially On the Way to Mainland Chinese Movie Theaters

Taylor Swift Eras Tour
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Photo Credit: Steve Jurvetson / CC by 2.0

Negotiations are ongoing to secure a release for Taylor Swift’s “Eras Tour” movie in mainland Chinese movie theaters.

“Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour” concert film is looking for a release date in mainland China, according to a new report from Variety. Negotiations are underway to secure what will likely be a January release for the movie in Chinese theaters, which has grossed over $250 million worldwide since its October 13 debut.

The film is currently being reviewed by Chinese authorities; approval from several entities is required for the import of foreign films, and the content of any film seeking a public release. Among the companies believed to be spearheading the film’s import and distribution include Alibaba Pictures, and Wanda Films — previously the majority owner of AMC Theatres, who distributed the film in North America. Wanda Films operates the largest cinema chain in China.

Though unconfirmed, reports stemming from China indicate a wide release “with tens of thousands of screenings per day and distribution including premium screen formats, such as IMAX and Dolby.” Posters circulating in China point to a January release date.

The urgency to secure the film’s release in China is mounting as the film will be available for streaming on demand outside of China beginning December 13 — Swift’s birthday. The demand will undoubtedly lead to some online piracy within China until an official release comes.

“The approvals process is ongoing and not yet completed,” a source close to the process has told Variety. “The Film Bureau’s concern is not so much about content censorship, but whether this film could be the first major title to be released under its ‘branch distribution’ policy.”

All foreign films imported and released in China on a revenue-sharing basis have, for years, been officially distributed by a state-owned entity, with private-sector companies provided an assisting role. Now, Chinese film regulators are experimenting with permitting theater exhibitors and distributors to take on the task themselves.

Foreign stars are almost always given a Chinese nickname — Swift’s is Meimei, a term of endearment that is also a pun, with the Chinese character “Mei” on its own meaning “unlucky.” Swifties in China, similarly, call themselves “Meimeis.” Since Swift’s lucky number is the “unlucky” 13, the nickname makes a lot of sense, as China enjoys its plays on words. The “Mei” symbol is also a homonym of the Chinese character that means “beautiful.”