Well…how bout that? “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” arguably the biggest cult film of all time, is back on the box office charts 46 years after its release thanks to hardcore fans who attended Halloween weekend screenings.
Disney, which now handles the theatrical release of the 1975 film after its acquisition of 20th Century Fox, reports that the film grossed $250,000 this weekend, putting it 15th on the charts. According to industry estimates, the film has grossed over $120 million during its run as the longest theatrical release in film history.
That honor, as devotees of Frank N. Furter well know, is thanks to the decades-old tradition of midnight screenings that dates back to the Waverly Theatre in New York roughly six months after “Rocky Horror” was initially released to scathing reviews and tepid box office. Over time, it would become a beloved tradition to yell jokes and catcalls at the screen, with fans dressing up as the characters and performing scenes alongside the film, while others throw toilet paper and other paraphernalia from the audience.
The goofy screenings spread nationwide, in good part due to 20th Century Fox’s policy of making its films available for repertory screenings to any theater that requested them. The midnight specials introduced “Rocky Horror” to a wider audience than ever before, turning it into an LGBT classic embraced for its transgressive themes and anthems like “Sweet Transvestite” and “Time Warp.”
“I know of a lot of people whose lives were saved by this movie,” Larry Viezel, president of The Rocky Horror Picture Show Official Fan Club told BBC last year. “Especially for those in the LGBT community, it’s a place where they could be themselves and find people who were their family.”
It is now so beloved that when Disney announced that it would be ending Fox’s open catalog policy after acquiring the studio in 2019, “Rocky Horror” was designated as a special exception. Because yelling “SAY IT!” at Tim Curry has become one of the proudest traditions in film culture.
The 1975 musical comedy horror film stars Tim Curry as Dr. Frank-N-Furter, Susan Sarandon as Janet Weiss and Barry Bostwick as Brad Majors. Meat Loaf also has a cameo appearance.