The Rocky Horror Picture Show basically invented fandom. There has never been a fandom like this one—and yes, we're including Star Wars . It all started when The Rocky Horror Picture Show flopped.
Yes, it was a total bomb.
A small group of weirdoes—Riff Raff and Magenta in different form, perhaps?—kept the passion for the film going, though, and producers at 20th Century Fox began screening the movie at midnight in New York City. Through word of mouth, the popularity of the film grew.
That didn't simply mean more butts in seats. In fact, people didn't just sit and watch Rocky Horror, they stood up, they dressed up, and they sang along. They brought props, like teddy bears and noisemakers, and they did The Time Warp in the aisles of the theaters.
Yeah—if you're someone who shushes anyone who breathes too loud in the seat next to you, Rocky Horror is not for you.
The film's a cultural rite of passage for many, especially those who feel like they're on the fringes of society, not quite fitting in, just like the characters in the movie. Rocky Horror featured prominently in The Perks of Being a Wallflower , which is set in the 1980s, at the height of Rocky Horror mania.
Due to its packed midnight showings, it became the longest-running theatrical film of all time. It played for a whopping twenty-six years at the Waverly Theater in Greenwich Village and for an insane twenty-eight years at an AMC Loews in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The fishnet industry in Boston collapsed after all those Harvard students stopped attending the midnight shows. (Source)
The long-lasting popularity also, unsurprisingly, led to multiple revivals for Rocky Horror on Broadway. (Source)
There's also a live TV production on FOX (a la Sound of Music and Grease) starring Laverne Cox. (Swoon!) (Source)
In fact, the show's still so popular, you might feel like you did the time warp back to when it first premiered.