To put into perspective just how powerful Taylor Swift and her league of Swifties really are, it’s worth noting that “The Exorcist: Believer” was supposed to come out this weekend. Naturally, the once-in-a-blue-moon Friday the 13th in October was a perfect time for a new “Exorcist” film to hit theaters. However, Taylor Swift is apparently more popular than Halloween because the studio moved the film up a week to avoid competing with her “Eras Tour” movie. Say what you will about her, but it’s hard to imagine another human being on the planet that is single handedly bigger than one of the country’s most beloved and most popular holidays.
“Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour” (In Theaters)
We could probably make this week’s Film Friday entirely about Taylor Swift. Again, this is October’s first Friday the 13th since 2006 (yes, 17-year-old 2006) and somehow, one of the most highly anticipated horror sequels of all time had to take a backseat. Swift’s ongoing Eras Tour has already generated about $4.2 billion in revenue. “The Eras Tour” movie, which runs just shy of three hours long, has already generated $100 million in presales. In fact, some estimates are already saying that “The Eras Tour” might gross close to or more than “Barbie,” which is currently the highest-grossing movie of the year at more than $630 million domestically.
With the highest-grossing film ever in terms of presales and one of the highest-grossing tours of all time, Swift has a chance at raking in the biggest box office numbers of the year. It might not have the same rewatch value as something like “Barbie” but with theaters across the country already sold out a week in advance, there’s a good chance people will have to wait a while to see it for the first time. Not only that, there are very few movies in the coming weeks that could even try to contend with the Swiftie army.
Swift’s “Eras Tour” follows the anniversary release of the classic concert film, “Stop Making Sense,” about The Talking Heads. Based on some early reactions, Eras Tour is already on track to join the likes of that film, “This Is It, Homecoming, The Last Waltz,” and more as one of the greatest concert films of all time. But is that really a surprise? Taylor Swift’s batting average is almost unbeatable at this point. She’s a pop megastar who’s been operating at the peak of her powers for at least the last decade. Even if you’re not a fan, this one is worth checking out.
“The Burial” (Amazon Prime)
If you’re not the parent of a teenage girl and have no interest in Taylor Swift whatsoever, you might want to hide from the movie theaters this weekend. Thankfully, a well-received legal dramedy starring Tommy Lee Jones and Jamie Foxx is waiting for you on Amazon Prime. The film, based on a true story, follows an attorney named Willie E. Gary who is hired to fight on behalf of an elderly funeral home owner named Jeremiah O’Keefe. What starts as a battle between the ultrarich and the working class soon becomes a fight for much more than that, as the unlikely pair continue to discover injustice after injustice in their fight for O’Keefe’s business.
At 77 years old, Tommy Lee Jones isn’t working as prolifically as he once did, so we’ll welcome any opportunity to see him on-screen, especially if it’s alongside Jamie Foxx. It may not be reinventing the wheel, but “The Burial” offers audiences two of the best actors working today and a real-life story that promises to be both entertaining and enlightening.
“Anatomy of a Fall” (In Theaters)
Another place to avoid the Taylor Swift crowd would be your local art house theater, which will probably be playing “Anatomy of a Fall,” a two-and-a-half-hour long murder mystery about a family in disarray. When Vincent’s blind son finds him dead just outside of the family’s rural home, local police launch a full investigation into his death. Although his wife, Sandra, suspects it was a suicide, the police hone in on her as their primary suspect.
She is then dragged into a trial for her life, where she will be forced to provide the burden of proof for her innocence. Premiering at Cannes Film Festival earlier this year, “Anatomy of a Fall” was awarded the festival’s top honor, the Palme d’Or. It was later a pretty big hit in France, ranking just below “Barbie” as the most popular film of the weekend. Now, as it comes to the US, American audiences will get a chance to see the film that’s been making major waves in its country of origin.
“Dark Harvest” (Streaming & VOD)
Finally, we’re shouting out an indie horror film that was shelved for a couple of years because of COVID before its release this Friday the 13th. The movie, which looks like a ton of fun, follows a small midwestern town as they attempt to capture and kill a scarecrow that comes to life every Halloween to terrorize them. Similarly to last week’s “When Evil Lurks,” what makes this more unique than the average slasher is the fact that the entire town is fully aware of this supernatural threat and on-board to put an end to it.
Most horror movies waste so much time getting main characters to convince everyone around them that what they’re experiencing is real, so we’re very excited to see something that jumps right into the action.
Josef Rodriguez is a writer, filmmaker, and film critic living in New York City.