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Taylor Swift breaks record for most profitable concert film in history – a week before its release | Ents & Arts News

Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour blockbuster has become the most profitable concert film in history – a week before it hits cinemas. 

Its distributor AMC said global advance ticket sales have topped $100m (£82m), overtaking the record set by Justin Bieber’s 2011 film Never Say Never which made $99m (£81m).

The film, which was recorded during the tour’s US leg, is set to be released in more than 100 countries next Friday 13 October.

FILE - Taylor Swift performs during the opener of her Eras tour in Glendale, Ariz., on March 17, 2023. Swift released "Speak Now (Taylor...s Version)." Swift re-recorded her sophomore country album, ...Speak Now,... and has 22 songs, including six that were written during the album...s original era, but not recorded until recently. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis, File)

“Audience demand for The Eras Tour concert film has been incredible from the moment it was first announced,” AMC said in a statement.

The US cinema chain previously said the film had beaten its record for the highest ticket-sales revenue during a single day in its 103-year history.

Swift‘s blockbuster has also broken the UK record for the most tickets sold during the presale opening week for a music event.

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Taylor Swift arrives at NFL game

FILE - Taylor Swift performs during the opener of her Eras tour in Glendale, Ariz., on March 17, 2023. Swift released "Speak Now (Taylor...s Version)." Swift re-recorded her sophomore country album, ...Speak Now,... and has 22 songs, including six that were written during the album...s original era, but not recorded until recently. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis, File)

The title was previously held by BTS’ Permission To Dance film, which was released last year.

Tim Richards, founder and chief executive of Vue International, said: “In the last week since tickets were released, Taylor Swift’s Eras tour has once again broken records, smashing our previous UK presale admit figures as our biggest ever opening week by ticket presales for a music concert event.

“The huge impact of concert films is clear, with Beyonce now following suit with a concert film of her own, following the release of the trailer for her Renaissance World Tour concert movie – it’s an exciting time to be a fan of music and cinema.”

Swift’s tour is also on track to become the biggest in history, with 146 dates across five continents.

It started in March of this year and will run until November 2024.

Read more:
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Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour film coming to UK – here’s how to get tickets

She will play in London, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Liverpool next summer.

Fellow pop star Beyonce’s Renaissance tour will be released in North American cinemas on 1 December.

COVID inquiry to begin with ‘difficult to watch’ film of family testimonies | UK News

The long-awaited COVID inquiry will hold its first public hearings today with an opening statement from chair Baroness Hallett and a film of testimonies from bereaved families that’s been described as “difficult to watch”.

Baroness Hallett, a retired judge, has promised to put the 226,000 victims of the pandemic at the heart of the investigation into the government’s response.

However, she has been criticised by some families for not giving more time to hear their stories – with a demonstration planned outside the London hearing.

Only one bereaved family member is due to give evidence during the opening module examining the country’s resilience and preparedness.

Baroness Hallett has said that more bereaved families will be heard during later modules.

Leshie Chandrapala believes her father, Ranjith Chandrapala, would still be alive if he had been better protected as a key worker during the height of the pandemic.

Mr Chandrapala, a bus driver from northwest London, died in May 2020.

“It is a monumental day for us and we have been fighting for it ever since the pandemic started,” she said.

“We wanted to learn lessons very early on but the government were reluctant.

Ranjith Chandrapala
Mr Chandrapala was one of 27 London bus drivers to die in the first three months of the pandemic

“We want to learn the lessons so that in future pandemics we’re not going to have a death toll near as much as a quarter of a million people.”

She added: “My dad was a key worker and I need to know what measures were in place and how the Department for Transport, TFL, the bus operators, were working together to keep those bus drivers safe.

“We know that bus driver deaths were very high, disproportionate numbers of transport workers died during the pandemic. And why is that? Was there a lack of preparedness?”

Leshie Chandrapala
Leshie wants to know what thought went into protecting key workers like her dad

Read more:
COVID inquiry: Everything you need to know
Baroness Hallett: Who is the chair of the inquiry?

Bereaved families call for greater transparency

The inquiry has published a list of witnesses who are due to give evidence this week.

It includes Sir Michael Marmot, the author of a report into key worker deaths that found London bus drivers aged 20 to 65 were 3.5 times more likely to die from COVID between March and May 2020 than men in other occupations across England and Wales.

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COVID inquiry: Everything you need to know

Tuesday’s session will hear from Professor Jimmy Whitworth, an infectious diseases expert from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and Dr Charlotte Hammer, an epidemiologist from Cambridge University.

The first module will run for six weeks, until 20 July.

An interim report will be published shortly afterwards, ending fears of a lengthy delay in publishing evidence gathered by the inquiry.

Ukrainians recite ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ lyrics in powerful film to mark first anniversary of war | World News

The lyrics of “You’ll Never Walk Alone” have been recited by Ukrainian people in a powerful film to mark the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion.

The one-minute video released by the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) shows the devastation unleashed by Vladimir Putin’s war, with millions unable to return to their homeland after being forced to flee.

It begins with a black screen and the caption: “Ukraine. February. 2023.” A cast of actors still living in Ukraine then recite lines from the anthemic Gerry and the Pacemakers song, over music by German-born British composer and pianist Max Richter.

A young boy, seen sitting on a swing in front of a hollow tower block, delivers the iconic line: “And don’t be afraid of the dark, at the end of a storm.”

The footage, shot this month, also shows a boy in a bomb shelter, a doctor in a hospital, a couple and a dog owner outside their homes, and a woman and child sitting on a bus.

Entitled “Never Alone”, it was made by a predominantly Ukrainian crew and directed using a remote camera.

Although the people featured in the film are actors, they represent real stories of people who have been helped by DEC charities.

The video ends with a black screen saying: “The UK raised over £400 million so the people of Ukraine didn’t walk alone” and images of aid workers who travelled to the country to offer help.

The DEC’s Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal has raised £414m since launching on 3 March 2022, including £25m donated by the government through the UK Aid Match scheme.

A woman and girl seen in the film
A woman and girl seen in the film

In the first six months of the response alone, aid delivered using DEC funds included (but was not limited to):

  • 1.9 million people provided with access to clean water
  • 392,000 people who received food assistance, including hot meals and food parcels
  • 338,000 people who received cash payments to meet their basic needs
  • 127,000 people who accessed basic services at transit centres for the displaced
  • 71,000 people who accessed primary healthcare services
  • 114,000 people who received legal help and support
  • 10,000 people who were provided with temporary accommodation

Read more:
Russia interrupts minute’s silence for Ukraine at UN
Putin will face trial for war crimes, US envoy says
China unveils 12-point peace plan to end war

A couple sitting outside what remains of their home
A couple sitting outside what remains of their home
A dog owner standing outside his proprty
A dog owner standing outside his property

Film director Rick Dodds said: “This film is a time capsule of Ukraine in February 2023 – exactly one year since the conflict began.

“We cast Ukrainian people still living there – so that we could capture their resilience, their strength, and their Ukrainian stoicism for all to see.

“The poetic words of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ then took on a different power when delivered by this cast in such dramatic and real locations.

“For example, a woman stood outside her house that has been blown apart saying ‘though your dreams be tossed and blown’. Or a young boy in a bomb shelter saying ‘with hope in your heart’.”

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DEC director of fundraising and marketing, Simon Beresford, hailed the “incredible generosity” of the British public.

“We’re really proud of the fact that we could work with a Ukrainian cast and crew to make this film,” he said.

“Choosing to shoot it in Ukraine added layers of complication to the project, but we think has made it much more authentic and impactful.

“Everyone who worked on the film in Ukraine has been affected in some way by the conflict and their creative input has been invaluable to the project.”