Taylor Swift's The Eras Tour has been a boost for movie theaters, besting even Martin Scorsese's Killers of the Flower Moon, his latest collaboration with Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro, in its debut weekend. But theaters are restricted to showing it Thursdays through Sundays. That left a hole in the programming at the Oriental Theatre in Milwaukee, Wis. that they weren't sure how to fill.
Cara Ogburn, the artistic director at Milwaukee Film, the nonprofit that runs the historic venue, half jokingly said they should use that time to show movies featuring Jake Gyllenhaal, who's one of Swift's former love interests and the suspected subject of some of Swift's songs including "All Too Well."
Abbie Esterline, the programming coordinator for the theater and a dedicated Swiftie, OK'd the idea.
"We're just doing this for fun," Esterline tells Yahoo Entertainment. "I really have disliked in the past when people have kind of leaned into a lot of misogyny and slut-shaming toward Taylor Swift when they talk about how many boyfriends she's had... We're not being like, oh, look at all these ex-boyfriends she has. It's kind of like, look at these people that she's been connected to and how they are also in different forms of media."
The guys are a pretty accomplished group.
Esterline says that, when it came to selecting the films, the staff gave particular attention to movies that featured a Swift ex and had a spooky theme. What they came up with is, as Ogburn first suggested, heavy on Gyllenhaal — Donnie Darko and Zodiac were givens — but also includes Taylor Lautner in the vampire series Twilight and, Dunkirk, a film that's terrifying for another reason, with Harry Styles. Tom Hiddleston's horror flick Crimson Peak is there, too.
"It was a lot of just us doing some research," Esterline says, "seeing what we could get."
There also were practicalities, such as whether a movie was available in a 35mm print — thankfully, Dunkirk and Twilight were — and the tastes of the theater's audience. This is why Joe Alwyn, the actor Swift dated from late 2016 until March of this year, is not part of the series.
It's "largely just because the movies that he has been in are not super accessible for us to show in the theater," Esterline says. "Some of it just has to do with distribution rights, whether it be something that's just with Netflix or something like that."
They did consider screening The Favourite, the 2018 Oscar winner in which Alwyn co-stars with Olivia Colman, Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz, but ultimately decided against it.
"Just because of what we thought would work with our audience, we decided to skip out on it and instead, especially because we were kind of going with some of the more spooky programming in October, we leaned into showing a couple more of the Jake Gyllenhaal movies."
Of course, Swift's concert movie is still playing too.