A rumor has been floating around since Thursday that The Runaways may not get its wide release expansion on April 9th like we’ve all been told. Somebody on Examiner.com tried to make us all feel better by claiming it was an April Fool’s Day prank, but that does not seem to be true.
Box Office Mojo is a site that gathers film statistics as reported by the film studios themselves. On Thursday, the site reported the early theater count estimate for The Runaways for the weekend of April 9th as 200, a far cry from the 1400 theaters we were promised. (Actually, I don’t remember if we were promised 1400 screens or 1400 theaters, but whatever. It’s still less.) Apparition has not publicly confirmed or denied this number, probably because it is Easter weekend and they might all be on vacation. (But that’s just speculation on my part.) The official theater count for April 9th won’t be updated on Box Office Mojo until Thursday, April 8th.
Box Office Mojo interpreted this number for us in the following tweet, which is what started the panic:
“‘The Runaways’ lost most of its theaters this weekend, but will be back to around 200 on 4/9. Nationwide expansion canceled.”
And this tweet:
“No missing zero. ‘The Runaways’ is no longer getting a nationwide release on 4/9, likely due to its poor showing so far.”
I don’t understand what they mean by “poor showing”. In its first weekend, The Runaways only opened on 244 screens and had the fourth-highest dollars-per-screen average of the top 18-grossing films that week. Fourth. How much better could it have done? The film cost $10 million to make, but you can’t earn all of that back in two weeks in just 10 cities. I always thought this “platform release” crap was a mistake, and that they waited too long to start the expansion. The Runaways is not a blockbuster like Alice in Wonderland or Twilight, so it won’t sustain a four-month run like those films do. But it should get a few good weeks in any market it appears in, especially in highly populated areas. The word of mouth about the film has been amazing, from critics and fans alike. This film is not a flashy spectacle. It’s a slow, gradual burn.
I’m sure some film executives in suits have a spreadsheet or a database full of “evidence” supporting their decisions, and I just sound like an hysterical loon to them. Fans are not people, right? Fans are just a potential zero in a bank account.
A lot of people are saying, “Calm down. You’ll get to see it on DVD eventually.” But that’s not good enough for me. This isn’t just another opportunity to consume 12,000 calories worth of hot buttered popcorn and pop (aka soda) while glaring at the inconsiderate bitches who light up the whole theater with their cell phones. I can do that at the 99-cent theater for a lot less money and aggravation.
For fans of The Runaways and Joan Jett, this isn’t just another movie. This is the story of one of the best bands, male or female, in the history of the world. The Runaways were marginalized as “jailbait rock” by an industry that had its head buried in one too many spreadsheets. The fans, like the band itself, were dismissed, ridiculed, and forgotten. This is our story, just as much as it is theirs.
In 35 years, it seems like nothing has changed.
I have personally waited 22 years for this story, my history, to be told. Some have waited longer. The Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning fans are just as passionate, and have their own stake in this. But we share this. We are a community. And we deserve to be heard. We deserve to be remembered. We deserve to be counted.
WHAT CAN WE DO?
1. Call your local theaters and physically tell them that you want them to show The Runaways.
2. If you are lucky enough to be near a theater showing The Runaways, go see it as many times as you can. Road trip if you have to. See #3. There’s a list of theaters that have the movie THIS WEEKEND.
3. Tell your friends and family. Get the word out. Use Twitter, MySpace, Facebook, blogs, and everything else you have at your disposal.
4. Follow @RunawaysFilm on Twitter, on their MySpace page, and their Facebook page. Tell them your location and tell them you want The Runaways in wide release. Add the hashtag #RUNAWAYSFILMWIDE to all of your tweets if you’re on Twitter.
5. Contact the head of publicity at Apparition:
Phone 818-521-2681 *fax 213-253-4615
Details courtesy of @BellasGuardian and KStew’s Global Army. This is publicly available information, so no one is being stalked. Please be respectful. This is not her fault. Going apeshit won’t help our cause. Send her the link to this blog if you want. 🙂
Any other ideas?