Why “The Runaways” flopped, part one

Reflection

Every time I think about this and try to write it down, I get sick to my stomach. Because I know that people who haven’t seen The Runaways are going to assume that the movie flopped because either:

  1. The movie sucked,
  2. The fans didn’t like it, or, even worse,
  3. The fans don’t exist and nobody cared enough to see it.

As Joan Jett is my witness, none of those is true.

I was one of the lucky few that actually got to see The Runaways in the theater, and I saw it nine times. I know running a Joan Jett fan blog makes me look crazy to the general public, and maybe I am, but trust me, I am not crazy enough see a crappy movie that many times. I’ve been a Joan Jett fan since before Kristen Stewart was born. If this movie had sucked, I would be screaming it from the rooftops, and Kristen Stewart would be forced to walk the earth wearing a scarlet “J” on her chest for all eternity.

Is the movie perfect? Hell no. Are there inconsistencies between the movie and the real life story of the band? Of course. And I’m sure film critics can spend all day picking apart the editing or the cinematography or the lighting and gripe about that stuff. But The Runaways is NOT a bad movie. It is one of the best music films I’ve ever seen, it is an excellent showcase for the music I grew up with, and it is a testament to the talent and dedication of Kristen Stewart, Dakota Fanning, and everyone else involved in the making of the film.

Do a search on Twitter, and you will see that I am not alone in my praise for The Runaways. Kevin Smith even liked it. That guy makes movies for a living, so if The Runaways had been a steaming pile of dog poo, I’m sure he would have said something. He’s honest like that.

Victim of circumstance, pure and simple

The truth is, The Runaways flopped because of a crappy distribution strategy and poor promotion.

A film’s distributor is responsible for setting the distribution schedule and promoting the film. Different countries use different film distributors. Apparition Entertainment distributed The Runaways for the US, E1 Entertainment did so for Canada, and other companies are doing so in other countries. The performance of a film in each country is ultimately the responsibility of that country’s distributor. But Apparition was the first to the table, and was therefore responsible for setting the world-wide expectations for the film. If The Runaways had done well in the US, I imagine that it would have been much easier to sell to other countries.

But The Runaways didn’t do well.

I have followed the American promotion of The Runaways from the beginning, and I can tell you that Apparition did not understand the film’s core audience. They waited too long to organize us and overestimated our power to influence non-fans by word-of-mouth alone. When their approach failed to make an impact, they tried to cut their losses by drastically reducing the number of theaters showing the film–twice–without any regard to the people who love The Runaways and the actors in the film. The people who are intrigued and excited by the story, and who would have seen the film 50 times if it had been playing anywhere near them.

Other distributors saw the numbers and either bailed on the film altogether or postponed its release, leaving formerly elated diehard fans all over the world feeling nothing but abject disappointment.

But it’s just one movie, right? Why bother getting so upset? I don’t think anyone realizes how long the Jettheads and Runaways fans had to wait for this movie, and how twisted the journey became.

The saga begins

We first heard of the project around April 17, 2007 when Variety announced that Art and John Linson would produce a film about The Runaways called “Neon Angels,” based on Cherie Currie’s autobiography of the same name. I don’t think we believed it at first. The possibility of seeing the story of Joan Jett’s first band–her baby and ours–on a big screen with all of our favorite music, with the premieres, interviews, red carpets, a soundtrack, and EVERYTHING, just seemed too good to be true. Many of us were excited, but I think most of us had reservations. We definitely wanted the movie to be made, but we were afraid that no one would do justice to the story. Personally, I didn’t want to get my hopes up.

Then we waited to see what would happen. We waited months for the writing phase to complete, and during that time we didn’t get many updates. I don’t know who was waiting with us, if anyone. I don’t remember the media talking about it for at least a year.

A casting notice was posted in August 2008. I couldn’t figure out who should play Joan or any of the other girls. I think the fans discussed possibilities, but no names stick out for me as being any real contenders. We didn’t know who was up for the role yet. We continued to wait.

In December 2008 the news broke that Kristen Stewart would play Joan. I didn’t know who she was yet, but I quickly learned that her casting was a very big deal to a lot of people. I think many Runaways fans were initially unsure of Kristen and what kind of performance she would bring, as we would be of anyone, but I was open-minded. I started watching her movies to see if I could at least believe her as Joan visually, and I could. In the process, I became a Kristen Stewart fan, and remain one.

The news that Dakota Fanning would be cast to play Cherie Currie came in March 2009. I was thrilled, and a little stunned, that we were able to get names that people would recognize.

I still wasn’t sure if I would be able to see the movie in a theater. I thought maybe it would go straight to DVD, or, if I was lucky, that I would have to travel to New York to see it. I hoped that I would find out in enough time to make my travel arrangements.

Excitement builds, and a new family forms

Filming began in June 2009. All summer and fall, the Jettheads were treated like royalty, or at least that’s what it felt like. The whole world was waiting with us. For the first time in over 20 years, I felt like I didn’t have to explain who I was to everyone. I still encountered people who didn’t know about the movie or Kristen or Joan, but I didn’t feel so lonely anymore.

Source: RadarOnline

Set pictures of Kristen and Dakota as Joan and Cherie surfaced, and my heart nearly stopped. Seeing Kristen strut around in the red Live In Japan jumpsuit was intensely gratifying for me. She looked perfect.

Joan attended the Twilight Saga: New Moon premiere in November, and I almost passed out. The interviews with the cast started pouring in, and everyone involved seemed to really get it.

I got so excited that I published an emo fan letter to Kristen Stewart, which introduced me to Kristen’s fan community. I was surprised by the level of support I found there. Some of them were already Jettheads going in, and others had started researching the band and listening to their music for the first time. I love watching them discover Joan’s music and talking about it with them. I am proud to consider these people a part of my fan family, and am equally proud to be a part of theirs.

With Kristen’s diehards on board, the level of exposure we started to get was beyond anything I could have ever dreamed of. I hoped and prayed that we would be able to see The Runaways on the big screen together.

Victory!

In December 2009 we found out that The Runaways would premiere at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. That same month, it was picked up for distribution in the US by Apparition Entertainment, a new company that had formed in August of 2009. Apparition announced the US release date as March 19, 2010. Other countries started to announce distribution, including Spain. The film was the most-buzzed about film at Sundance, and in the weeks before the festival, the teaser trailer was released and the film’s official website was launched.

Apparition announced on January 13, 2010 that The Runaways would see a wide release in the US to 1400 theaters. I think Martians could hear me scream. Bill Pohlad and Bob Berney, the heads of Apparition, became almost like heroes to us.

Reviews started pouring in, but I didn’t read them. I wanted to see the film with a completely open mind.

January and February 2010 saw even more interviews, production stills, and Twitter, Facebook, and MySpace updates. Star-studded premieres were announced for New York, Los Angeles, and the South by Southwest festival. The first TV spot was released online, and Rolling Stone announced the soundtrack listing.

We started the countdown for March 19th, and waited. We were happy.

Not so fast

Things started to get weird around February 25th 2010, when we got wind that Apparition had changed its mind about doing a wide release for The Runaways. They switched to a platform release, starting limited on March 19th and expanding wide on April 9th. Nobody knew who would get the film on March 19th and who would have to wait.

A week later, on March 2nd, 2010, IndieWire published a quote from Apparition’s Bob Berney to explain the change:

[The Runaways is now] opening in two phases: 220 screens in ten cities on March 19, followed by another 1000 on April 9. Berney has always had a good nose for when to book theaters: he’s basically slowing the pace of the release. “It’s R-rated, not typical. Dakota Fanning gives a great performance, but it’s different from what she’s done,” says Berney. “I had to make sure we had the buzz by the time we went wide.”

I guess two years, ten months, and eight days wasn’t enough buzz. But what did I know?

I tried to stay positive, even after learning that Pittsburgh was not one of the 10 chosen cities and I would have to wait until April 9th. What’s another 21 days when you’ve already waited nearly three years? I would still see it in a theater, and that’s all I cared about.

The fans mobilize

March 2010 was a busy month, with all the premieres, advance screenings, and TV appearances from the cast and Joan herself. The fans did our best to continue the buzz in all of our blogs and social networking sites. We were on a mission.

During the weekend of March 19th, The Runaways came in at 18th place and earned $805,115 with a per-theater average of $3,300. I thought that was pretty good, considering that it was only released in 244 theaters. It was competing against Alice in Wonderland and other blockbusters that were showing in more than 3,000 theaters each. When I sorted the top 18 grossing films for that weekend by their per-theater average, The Runaways came in fourth place. The fans were pleased.

Apparition wasn’t.

You’ve got to be kidding me

On April 1, 2010, April Fool’s Day, our dreams of a wide release for The Runaways were dashed for good. Box Office Mojo reported the film’s early theater count for April 9th as 200, and then tweeted that the nationwide expansion of the film was canceled. Apparition did not have the balls to announce it themselves, so the fans were left waiting for news through the long holiday weekend and wondering if their city would be included in the release.

I think we would have been OK with a limited theatrical release if that had been the plan all along. The diehards would have had months to campaign for their cities and organize road trips and buy plane tickets. But most theaters didn’t announce their April 9th lineups until Tuesday, April 6th. Whole states, like Mississippi, were skipped entirely. With only three days to plan, most fans couldn’t arrange to get the time off of work or get someone to watch their kids.

We felt defeated and dejected, and many of us still feel that way. This tweet from @KMDawe says it best:

Tell me this is some sick fucking April Fools joke that TR is not getting wide release? I feel like I was told there is no Santa

Me too.

Not the epilogue I was hoping for

I did get to see the film in the theater, after two years, eleven months, and twenty-three days of waiting and hoping. It was more than I ever dreamed of. The music, the performances, the clothes–everything was amazing. I wrote about it here.

But I couldn’t fully enjoy it, because I couldn’t share it with all of my new friends.

We are pissed off.

Apparition didn’t just screw over the US audiences. Their decisions caused other countries to postpone their release of The Runaways or not release it at all. Apparition screwed every fan all over the world. They screwed Kristen Stewart, Dakota Fanning, and everyone involved in The Runaways, who turned themselves inside out to bring this story to life. Apparition has officially lived up to its name. They made us all look invisible.

In May 2010, Bob Berney announced that he was leaving Apparition Entertainment, and many people blame The Runaways for the split. (Source, source, and source)

What went wrong?

I don’t care to point fingers at specific individuals. It took a team of people to make this mess, and they are all responsible. They didn’t spend enough money on promotion and they didn’t spend enough time getting to know the audience.

Part two of my analysis will focus on Apparition’s promotion strategies for The Runaways and why most of them were ineffective.

45 thoughts on “Why “The Runaways” flopped, part one

  1. You have to realize this is a movie for fans. The fans are a miniscule amount. This would have been good as a movie of the week on VH1, but not for the movie theater. Look at this comment section it is empty. Realize that just because you are passionate about something, it doesn’t mean the world will care. Because that simply is not reality.

    • LOL, why are you reading a blog about something you don’t care about?

      The only reason you think this movie was just for the diehard fans is because that’s the way it was marketed to people. It didn’t have to be sold that way. This is what I will cover in Part Two.

    • LOL, seriously?
      The world may not care like we do, obviously… But do you realize how big The Runaways were? How much fans they conquered back the 70’s and how much fans they keep conquering?

      The movie has an excellent plot. Just take a brief look and you’ll realize that the movie was made for the new generation get to know them as well, and not for the old fans.
      I’m 18, and I’m a fan of Joan and TR because my mom is a huge fan of them… But my friends don’t know nothing about their history and what happened… They may know the songs, but not the “backstage”…
      So yeah, I think you were unhappy by sayin’ the movie is only for “miniscule amount” of fans…

  2. Personally i think the R rating really hurt.That meant a lot of KStew fans wouldnt be able to get in to see it unless accompanied by their parents,and it turned off some theater owners who wanted more family-oriented movies.Just one or two brief cuts here and there could have made it to a PG-13.

    • No, you would have had to cut out all of the swearing to make it PG-13. The R rating was essential to making it a good movie, in my opinion. And please stop assuming that all KStew fans are under 17. She has fans of all ages, just like Joan. I know. I talk to them.

      • I don’t think the swearing is what got the R-Rating. I’ve read several MPAA standards & ratings that cite “Sexual situations and drug use by minors” as the definitive reason for the R-Rating, but I may be mistaken. That seems like a MUCH bigger deal than swearing. But, as you said, taking that out would have enormously sucked the plot…. Drug use played a big part in the crumble of The Runaways, almost killed Joan in 78-79 (Thank God Kenny swooped in and practically took Joan’s head out of the oven at Donna’s apartment) and destroyed Cherie for a few years. I’ve been transferring and mastering hours and hours of those old Rodney on the ROQ interviews lately and It’s so wild how Quaaludes, Weed and Coke were freely discussed and used then. It’s like listening to a different person when you hear Joan in those interviews. I’m so glad she realized what was important to her and completely went for it instead of wallowing in self pity and dying of an overdose. Thank you, Joan! What a portrait of passion that woman is. Let’s not take our eye off of the ball here. This movie seems like nothing when compared to the REAL big picture.

  3. I definitely want to read more! I was a fan of both Kristen and a sleeper fan of Joan’s…more vicariously through other people’s Jettheadness(which is now corrected and I’m one of YOU/US/WE:))

    I saw an early release of this in Seattle(we got it second I believe) and was blown away. I traveled 6 hours round trip for a benefit premier with Cherie Currie in Portland, on a work night, to see it again. I ended up seeing it 4 times. And I am a film snob.

    How in the world did this not do well with 2 of the top box office names in the world? The most beloved female rocker living? And a myriad other things going for it?

    Well, your piece is helping me understand for sure.

    Let’s hope the DVD at least feels the love.

  4. I agree. I live in the Philadelphia area and got to see the film on the first day of release on March 19th. After I saw the movie I wanted to see it again with my daughter (she wanted to see it) and her friends. But I could not find the movie within 50 miles of where I live!!!!! Each week I hoped they would add a theater some where in my area. But they never did. I love Joan but going to NYC is too far to see a movie. I signed up to get email updates from the movie’s website but NEVER received ANYTHING from them. What the **** happened????

  5. I argree with you one hundred percent you hit it right on target, the funny thing is i am an old joan jett fan too and i am also a fan of jack kerouac the link to kristen stewart won’t quit but i think she is a very good actor, she was great in The Runaways and I’m sure she will do great in On The Road as long as its release properly.

  6. Totally agreed.
    I mean, I didn’t watch the movie so far because I live in a fucking crappy country and I’ll have to wait until September… FML
    Anyways,
    just add something about the movie promotion: I think they bet really hard on Kristen and Dakota’s fans and completly forgot that most of them are underage and can’t watch the movie… :/

    but yeah, I love when you write articles like that…
    thanks for sending me the link.

    xx, C.

  7. As usual jj another well written article . I only got to see it once ,I had to drive 50 miles to see it ,and it was a fluke that I even found out it was playing (thanks to wasted for posting all the links to find it ) .I had called several theaters and they had no clue if they were even getting it ,one told me that even if they knew they were getting it in advance it could get pulled at the last minute .The way this movie was handled would have to be scary if you were a independent movie producer . I do believe the R rating did have a effect on the amount of people that could see it, but to change it to PG 13 I think you would have had to change pretty much the whole tone of the movie just taking out the bad words would not have done it and we would have had Runaways pop lite not the truth . I do think that Joan and Cherie made the movie the way they wanted to and not with the thought of commercial success ,but even with the R rating not releasing it more widespread on the 19Th killed it with all the promotion ,Joan and Kirsten making the talk show rounds ,you could not go see something that was not showing ,and when it came out three weeks later in today’s world it was already forgotten by the casual or curious fan .It did help get Joan out there ,when I wear a Joan shirt people ask me if I have seen the movie or how it was ,so hopefully when the dvd comes out it will do better

  8. You couldn’t be more right. I’m near a city that was one of the lucky March 19ers (Vancouver, BC). I saw it six times–three times in Vancouver and three times in the ‘burbs.

    I tell you, I just couldn’t fathom what the f%@# they were doing with it. It only played in the mainstream multiplex theatres for a couple of weeks. That gave me time to catch four screenings. Suddenly, I noticed they had dropped it, and I began to panic. A second-run discount theatre in Vancouver picked it up and kept it going for a couple more weeks. Which allowed me to see it for a fifth time. I arranged a date with a work colleague to see it again for the sixth time, and to my dismay (and hers), it was suddenly gone from the discount theatre, too! Nowhere in sight! AACK!

    Last week I comforted myself by ordering the DVD from Amazon. Still licking my wounds, I happened to google “Runaways” + “Vancouver” and discovered the discount theatre had brought it BACK for just two days last week! Overjoyed, I convinced a friend (who happens to be a musician) that she HAD to see it on the big screen, no matter how tired she was near the end of the work week and even though she had to give a presentation at work the next day–and so she went with me for my sixth and final viewing, on its last night in town. (I told my friend the movie would energize and inspire her and suggested she bring her guitar to work for her presentation, LOL!)

    But Joan has been through this sort of thing before. I’ve read interviews with Kenny Laguna talking about certain of her records being sleeper hits, taking a year or more to gain momentum. The film has met with critical acclaim, everyone’s agreed that it’s a great film, everyone knows it’s a significant film in the careers of both Stewart and Fanning, and so it will have a long life and plenty of respect and will take its rightful place in history. The DVD will be successful for generations to come, and not just as a cult film but as a classic of music film.

  9. Could be another Star Trek or Cleopatra here. They didn[t fare well when they first were released and the rest is history. The movie was up against some serious competition at the general time of release as well. It could still be a success with the right promotion and target audience. A lot of movies that didn’t do well at the theater made boo koo bucks on aftermarket sales.

  10. The Runaways was erroneously marketed as a biopic, which may have created the “black cloud” for distribution and the numbers game executives play when looking at a films potential. It didn’t matter. This film starred arguably, the hottest actress in the world, Kristen Stewart and good Lord, throw in Dakota Fanning and you’ve got a gold mine… not to mention the superb acting and Stewart’s cathartic portrayal of Joan Jett alongside Oscar nominee Michael Shannon. This was a Drama. A “Parallel Narrative” that focused on a budding relationship that developed behind the scenes of The Runaways formation. It’s a stunning realization; a brilliantly filmed gritty reality that these young girls actually lived. It’s so engaging, you can’t take your eyes off of the screen….especially when Stewart is in the scene. Apparition spent nothing on advertising. I saw television ads ONLY during commercial breaks for talk shows in which an actor in the movie was appearing — that’s all. MTV is behind the movie, apparently. Even though nobody got to see the famous “kiss scene”, it was nominated for an MTV movie award. I know it’s based on notoriety, but there were many critics who named “: The Runaways” as one of the top movies of 2010. It makes me absolutely SICK how badly this distribution was screwed up. This guy is a coward who thinks he knows too much and has nothing to learn. If nobody has a chance to see a movie, how will there be any word of mouth to spread? You ripped out and stomped on more hearts than you can imagine. Ironically, the same way The Runaways were treated when they formed. Put a bunch of guys in charge and see what happens…

  11. I agree with ALL of you, with the exception of the first poster who obviously posted here just to piss everyone off. Really no one cares? That’s what they said in 1980 when 23 labels rejected Joan saying you got nothing, “I L RNR”, “Crimson and Clover”, “Bad Rep” and “Touch”, all went top 20 and “I L RNR” stayed at #1 for 11 weeks so fans do care! We do make a difference and to all the naysayers that say we are a miniscual fan base I guess 11 million records sold worldwide is not big enough for them.
    The Rocky Horror Picture Show wasn’t a hit at first but it went on to become one of the largest cult films of the modern era. I have hope for this movie and I think that it could do well over time, Joan has always had that grassroots following and our voices are heard and we are larger in number than anyone thinks. I’ve been a Joan Jett fan for almost 30 years and I have seen monterous crowds show up for her.
    When she did a Tower Records signing in NYC for GROAMY in 1984 it was the biggest in store they’d ever had, the line stretched for miles of city blocks with thousands of loyal and devoted fans (watch the video for “Cherry Bomb” and you’ll see what I am talking about).
    I have seen 3 live shows in S. FLorida in the past 7 months and the crowds were huge. They may not have been stadiums but they weren’t promoted at all and they had 1,500 – 2,000 in attendance. IMO those are good numbers for something that gets little to no promotion. The show I saw two weeks ago had billboards lit up along I95 with Joan’s photo on it and it made the news because so many people were slowing down on the interstate to see it that it was causing traffic jams.
    Lately when I wear a Joan Jett t-shirt people stop me to ask if I saw the movie and they all want to see it. The more people tell us we can’t the more we say we can, never underestimate the underdogs!

    • …not to mention the 5 nights on Broadway that Joan Jett & the Blackhearts sold out in an hour.

      And, if you’ve seen some of the red carpet footage for the Runaways premiere, the crowds were CRAZY for Joan and it was shocking and scary all the same.

      Go-Gos, Shmo-Gos 🙂 That didn’t work, did it…:)

      They couldn’t play instruments till they formed the band (besides Gina, of course…who Joan had a very special fondness for) and screwed anyone that were unlucky enough to get backstage…. They should have passed out complimentary Valium and scabies ointment at the exit. well….actually, that DOES sound like a funny movie, but certainly not awe inspiring raw talent and a gutsy groundbreaking inspirational band The Runaways were.

        • Maybe The Runaways weren’t NUNS, but in the context of what would be interesting and grounbreaking as far as timeless rather than timely, I’d certainly take The Runaways first. btw, where are the rules on what I’m able to discuss so I don’t offend you? Never mind. I get it now. I’m a grown-up and I have strong opinions just like you, but I wouldn’t dare tell you what you could or couldn’t say. I just wouldn’t comment back. But run it like you want to…after all, it is your blog and I guess I don’t fit into this puzzle either. Have fun!

        • Chill out, Mikey. If you want to say inflammatory things, you will have to put up with people who don’t agree with you. Personally, I just don’t think it’s nice to talk about a woman’s sexual habits and insinuate they have diseases that you may not have personal knowledge of. Even if I did have personal knowledge of someone else’s diseases, I wouldn’t discuss it on a fucking blog. It’s not classy, and it is very disrespectful of women. You just stood up for all women and how it sucks when men put them down, and then you go and say THAT.

      • btw, I’d like to publicly apologize to any of the readers of this blog that I may have offended by my Go-Go’s comment. I was thinking about the differences in the Runaways and the Go-Go’s and my comment may have been taken the wrong way. I am a feminist in every sense of the word and certainly didn’t mean to offend. I see people, not sex or race. If one does something stupid or ridiculous, it doesn’t matter if it’s a female or male, black or white, it’s still stupid, funny or whatever. Just wanna clear that up before I depart. I really mean what I said. and I know that the people here who actually know me already know that.

        Peace and Love and Rock-n-Roll,
        Mikey

      • Everybody seems to be forgetting that this was an Indie movie. They don’t get big budget advertising. I haven’t seen ONE ad for The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Just an example. My wish is that everyone who wants to see this movie gets a chance. If Kristen and Dakota hadn’t been cast, I’d really be interested in how well the movie would have fared. But she was so amazing I can’t imagine anybody else even touching her performance.

  12. ” It’s not classy, and it is very disrespectful of women. You just stood up for all women and how it sucks when men put them down, and then you go and say THAT”

    If you knew anything about me, you would understand that there was no misogyny in that comment at all. If we were discussing all male bands I would have said the same thing. I think maybe you should back away from this topic for a while and get some perspective. Geez, I have been nothing but supportive of you and your passion for this blog and the amazing things you are trying to do here, sent you 50 pages of researched tour dates, none of which have been added to the archive yet and didn’t even get a thank you, but I DO get a comment about the GoGo’s quip. Geeeeeeezzzzz. C-mon, Girl.

    • 1. Thank you for all of those tour dates. I thought I did thank you via email, twitter, or both. You also added the dates as a comment, and I thought I replied to the comment and thanked you there too. Are my emails to you going to your spam folder? If I didn’t thank you, I apologize. I meant to.

      2. I have not had time to add those dates to the site yet, or any of the dates sent to me by other people. Adding those dates is time-consuming because wordpress doesn’t give me an easy way to create HTML tables. The easiest way for me to do it is transfer them to a spreadsheet, copy the spreadsheet, and paste them into the page. Then I have to edit the resulting HTML to add borders and cell padding so they can be readable. And I need them all in a specific spreadsheet template I created so that all of the tables have the same column widths and headings so I can have a consistent look across the site. Forgive me if I have been busy with my JOB. It took me three weeks to write this post, and if you haven’t noticed, I haven’t been keeping up with the fuck-ton of other JJ news since I have been consumed with The Runaways movie and since I got my new job either. My house is a mess too, in case you were wondering. I promise to add the dates as soon as I possibly can.

      3. Maybe I over-reacted about the perceived misogyny of your comment. I apologize. I still don’t like the comment. I didn’t disapprove the comment or edit it out, but I could have.

  13. btw, If there’s anything I can do to help take some of the load off of you, let me know (I know I just opened myself up to a number of insults, but in the spirit that this is intended, blah, blah, blah……) Really, you can really use me…I’m a great resource, just ask. Turn off Remington Steele and listen for a minute! XOXO

  14. Loved this article – excellent analysis. I totally agree with all that you have said, If Apparition just had the balls to follow through with a wider release and had just gone on twitter alone and seen the amount of fans saying ‘I would love to see this movie but it isn’t in my city’. I was lucky enough to see it three times and loved it. Yes it wasn’t perfect but it was one of the better rock biopics i have seen. Hopefully fans will mobilize for the DVD release now given that they couldn’t exercise their right to see it in a movie theater near them!

  15. Pingback: Why “The Runaways” flopped, part two « Born to be Jetthead

  16. I was a teen in that era & never heard of The Runaways. But I bought the dvd & am now obsessed about the band & their music. I just recieved Neon Angel, book by Cherie Currie & have read about 10 pages & already love it.

    I can’t understand they only made like 2 million at the box office, I hope they make up for it in dvd sales & rentals because it’s an awesome movie about the 1970’s & the first all girl rock band.

  17. I have to say first of all that The Runaways was a good film. It was never going to be 100% factual or show all the gory details.

    Second – casting two lead actors whose core audience are too young to see an R rated feature – probably not the smartest move but not the only factor limiting the commercial success of The Runaways.

    Yes, the marketing and promotion of the film was ABYSMAL!!!! I was waiting and waiting for it and only heard it was showing (Melbourne Australia) when it had already finished…… I too had been waiting a long time since I heard the movie was going to be made and the fact that I was watching/waiting for news of showing here – and didn’t see it, reflects on the marketing and promotion.

    Also, they definitely should have broadened the perspective of the marketing – die hard fans will see this movie regardless so I am not sure why all the marketing was directed at die hard fans. The term “selling fridges to Eskimo’s” comes to mind here. Why not focus on the historical and social importance of The Runaways (and certainly Joan Jett) and the influence on music, society and feminism….??? It seems to me that it would have gone a long way in reaching a younger audience who perhaps weren’t so knowledgeable on music history – or even inclined to be, but I am sure it would have sparked some interest outside Joan’s core fan group.

    I am at a loss – someone royally screwed up here – great performances and an important story – lost to the world in a mess of corporate f***ups…..

    Actually makes me sad – Joan deserves her due, I would have loved to have seen this movie inform everyone of how amazing, talented, strong and influential she really has been. She has never “sold out” and I fear that because of her convictions she will never be truly appreciated, acknowledged or recognised.

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