Runaways Sputters; What Went Wrong?
After more than four weeks since its limited release and it’s broader release April 9, Joan Jett biopic “The Runaways,” is sputtering at the box office.
Twilight’s Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning provided plenty of star power and the early reviews, while not overwhelming, were generally good.
Yet the film only did $285,000 over the weekend, and has grossed about $3 million since it’s release, which is still well shy of its modest $10 million price tag.
The film’s average per theater is $1,214, or about half of what it was a week ago, according to Box Office Mojo. That usually means a lot of empty theater seats.
As of this weekend, it was playing in about 243 theaters and the take is down 37 percent from last week. The film played in 39 more theaters this weekend, but whether more will be added remains problematic.
That left “The Runaways” ranked 17th among releases currently in theaters.
In contrast, the weekend’s No. 1 film “How to Train Your Dragon” pulled in $20 million from a little over 3,800 theaters, averaging about $5,229 a theater.
Probably the biggest problem facing “The Runaways,” is it’s R-rating, which makes it difficult for a large segment of Stewart’s Twilight fan base from seeing the film, without being accompanied by an adult.
Robert Pattinson’s “Remember Me” has grossed almost $19 million domestically after a six-week run. It cost $16 million to make, and is doing well overseas. The film also has a PG-13 rating, which opened the doors to his legion of young “Twilight” fans.
While The Runaways also got fairly good reviews, drawing a 68% score on movie Web site, Rotten Tomatoes, many reviews were lukewarm, and big city newspaper reviews as well as influential music fanzine Rolling Stone tended to be negative.
Peter Travers of Rolling Stone wrote: “Say what you will about the Runaways — they never played it safe. The movie does.”
A.O. Scott of The New York Times chimes in: “The movie may be a little too tame in the end, but at its best it is just wild enough.”
Kyle Smith of The New York Post also gave it a tepid review: “Amusing though it sometimes is, the closest thing the movie offers to a reason for its existence is the post-Runaways success of Jett,” he wrote.
Betsey Sharkey of the Los Angeles Times outright panned the movie, although she gave props to Kristen for her acting, largely laying the blame on Writer-director Floria Sigismondi.
It’s a shame for Kristen. Although “The Runaways” was shot on a shoe-string indie budget, it was her first feature role outside of the “Twilight” series. Now, it’s back to Bella, for the actress.
Stewart will next swing back into the media campaign for “Twilight” sequel “Eclipse,” which hits theaters in June.