Just hours after Taylor Swift announced a theatrical film version of her blockbuster “Eras” tour, at least one major competitor has departed for safer waters. Originally slated for Oct. 13 — Friday the 13th — Universal and Blumhouse’s “The Exorcist: Believer” will now open on Oct. 6, rather than go head-to-head with one of the world’s most popular entertainers.
The horror film will get one week to itself now — or at least alongside Sony’s wide expansion of “Dumb Money” — before dealing with the Swifties.
Jason Blum announced the news on social media, with a #TaylorWins hashtag while declaring “Look what you made me do.” The reference to the famous Swift song left no doubt as to the motivations for the move.
The, uh, swiftness of Universal’s actions highlights just how big the upcoming “Taylor Swift: Eras Tour” film is expected to be.
Yes, there’s a case to be made for adults showing up to an R-rated horror film while kids take in a PG or PG-13-rated concert film — Swift’s film is 44 minutes longer than the Blumhouse chiller, so kids won’t be waiting on their parents. However, Swift’s current fanbase transcends demographics. She’s a four-quadrant superstar, and Universal didn’t want to risk losing teens and young adults who otherwise might have sampled the religious horror flick.
The key release is intended to spawn a new trilogy of “Exorcist” movies, with “The Exorcist: Deceiver” slated for April 18, 2025. To be fair, if “The Exorcist: Believer” plays well with audiences and inspires strong word-of-mouth, there’s a chance that the Friday the 13th weekend could give it something resembling legs after its first Friday-Sunday frame. As far as shaking up the spooky movie season, this now puts the “Exorcist” film one month after Warner Bros. Discovery’s “The Nun II’s” Sept. 7 opening and one week after Lionsgate’s “Saw X” on Sept. 29.
That Jigsaw flick is opening concurrently with Paramount’s “Paw Patrol” sequel, leading to a tongue-in-cheek “Saw Patrol” meme. Those hoping for “ExorSwift” have been left wanting — although there’s nothing preventing a double-feature on the weekend of the 13th.