Cirque’s Financial and Critical Disaster “R.U.N.” to Close at Luxor

“R.U.N.” at Luxor has confirmed what we’ve been saying for months, the show will soon be put out of its misery. Cirque du Soleil says it will close for good on March 8, 2020. It opened October 24, 2019.

It’s hard to overstate the level of WTF associated with this doomed-from-day-one show.

“R.U.N.” was savaged in online reviews and cost $62 million (some say it was substantially more). Our sources say the show has been losing about $1.6 million a month for its four-month run.

Not only was this the biggest financial disaster in the history of Las Vegas entertainment, “R.U.N.” also had the shortest run of any Cirque show in Vegas history.

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“R.U.N.” made dumpster fires cringe.

“R.U.N.” billed itself as “a living, breathing graphic novel that’s non-stop tire-peeling, fist-flinging and double-crossing action including combat stunts, fast-paced car chases, cutting-edge technology and innovative multimedia.”

While we obviously feel for the performers who will lose their jobs when the show closes, we have issues with the bullshittery the show tried to pull by encouraging (and possibly paying) people to post glowing reviews to try and stem the avalanche of posts trying to steer people away from this baffling misfire.

Many of the fake reviews used approved talking points, many along the lines of “People only hate this show because it’s not a typical Cirque show.”

This delusional assertion was just one of many gross miscalculations made by the show’s producers and creative team.

The only “confusion” about “R.U.N.” was audience members expecting an entertaining show and, instead, getting one with a bewildering plot, graphic sadism, poorly-executed fight scenes and excruciatingly loud music.

Or, as reviewer Chris G. put it so eloquently on TripAdvisor, “Makes you embarrassed to be human.” Honorable mention to Troyl H. who wrote, “Getting to leave is the highlight.”

“R.U.N.” was so bad, we hated it and never even saw it. Here’s a look.

Among the missteps was having feature film director Robert Rodriguez write it. Robert Rodriguez, of course, is known for his Writers Guild Award-winning scripts for movies like “Machete,” “Machete Kills” and the upcoming “Machete Kills in Space.” Oh, and “Spy Kids.”

The show’s director was Michael Schwandt, and the performance and action designer was Rob Bollinger.

As the future of “R.U.N.” began to grow dim, we hear Cirque called in a new director to overhaul the show. The new director was out quickly, as even good directors can’t perform miracles with a fundamentally flawed concept.

As we reported in early February 2020, buzz from insiders was TPG Capital (majority owner of Cirque du Soleil) was out of patience and said it wouldn’t invest another dime. The show’s fate was sealed.

While Cirque has taken a massive financial hit from “R.U.N.,” the company continues to dominate the Las Vegas entertainment scene. We understand the average occupancy for Cirque shows across Las Vegas sits at about 70 percent, although that’s down from 80-plus percent a decade ago.

We hear the company makes upwards of $120 million a year from its Las Vegas shows alone.

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Wheelies were popped, as were dreams.

Still, the financial damage from “R.U.N.” certainly won’t help the company’s extreme level of debt, which is rumored to be in excess of a billion dollars, leading to speculation the company could file for bankruptcy protection at some point.

Moody’s investor service reports Cirque has a “high level of discretionary borrowing, continued underperformance in several key areas previously targeted for growth as well as relative
stagnation of its existing core performing arts business.”

Moody’s adds, “We believe the company’s largely debt-funded expansion strategy could be unsustainable, resulting in financial strain on core operations and leaving minimal flexibility to address operating weaknesses when they arise.”

We love us some Cirque, but no more tire-peeling and double-crossing, please.

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There’s no denying it was “unique.” With quotation marks. In case that wasn’t clear.

There’s no word on what might replace “R.U.N.” at Luxor, but a contender is a magic show called “The Illusionists.” The Broadway magic show recently bumped “R.U.N.” at a charity event at Luxor. It was awkward, but makes more sense in light of “R.U.N.” closing.

Best of luck to the intrepid performers and stunt persons who did their best to give “R.U.N.” a shot at success, and here’s hoping Cirque can lick its wounds and deliver more of the company’s distinctive brand of brilliance in the future to help purge the memory of “R.U.N.” from our collective memory.

10 thoughts on “Cirque’s Financial and Critical Disaster “R.U.N.” to Close at Luxor

  1. WILLIAM WINGO

    I’ve seen exactly one Cirque show in Las Vegas: the original “Mystere” at Treasure Island, way back when both were relatively new. So far, I’ve managed to avoid the others.

    Reply
  2. Lynn Chase

    I’m a long time resident and former headliner at several now obsolete hotel casinos such as The Marina, The Hacienda, The Maxim, and Paddlewheel Hotels. I’ve seen ever Cirque Show and the performers are second to none. The only difference with Run was people expected a Las Vegas show and instead they saw a 3D movie in which they were a part of but only as a spectator. I think the main problem, aside from music so loud you couldn’t hear applause or cat whistles, is that people didn’t know what they were expected to do? clap? just watch? what’s going on? I honestly feel if this had been marketed as a 3d immersive FILM people would have had entirely different expectations. A movie you sit back and watch. You’re not expected to applaud at every cool thing that happens. It was like a movie that you’re an extra in. THAT’S how it should have been marketed. I loved the way they incorporated the geek show side show elements as part of the show and the acrobats and mostly the motorcycle stunts were breathtaking. I think this show got a bad rap and I for one am sad it isn’t getting a second chance with proper marketing and slight tweaks, like the volume. sad.

    Reply
    1. Paul-Marcel St-Onge

      Completely agree. Plus people think that since CdS was the producer that it had to be filled with circus acts. It would have been better for CdS to create another entity to produce the show to eliminate that confusion.

      Reply
  3. Richard j Bergeron

    I saw Run in January and i have to admit, i didnt know what to think. I new it would be different and not like the other Circle shows . The stunts , and actors were awesome. They really were. The motorcycle stunts were really good and fun to watch as well. I didnt find the music too loud. I dont think thats the kind of entertainment most people want to see. I saw a lot of older people there, and im sure they expected something different. I did enjoy it, but i also wouldnt recommend it considering all the other high caliber entertainment available. Ive seen the other Circle shows and totally impressed and entertained.
    I think Run needs a smaller venue and target a younger audience. It might do well with that.

    Reply
  4. Jared

    When the show started, there was a movie screen trying to set the stage for things to come. It seemed to long and I thought, I didn’t spend all this money to see a movie. When real action started it was difficult to keep turning in my seat to see action at different locations in the show and at the side angles. In conclusion, I thought, it was ok, however, I won’t see it again like I have with other Cirque shows.

    Reply
  5. Ian

    Good for them for taking a risk and trying something different and new.
    The show was not good overall – I agree – but people shouldn’t be rubbing the failure in their face. I hope Las Vegas keeps innovating (Absinthe, Rose Rabbit Lie/Vegas Nocturne, RUN).

    Reply
    1. Hashtag Fail

      Yeah, I agree. Bravo for betting wrong. At $60M+, a lot of people got paid to work. It’s unfortunate that actors and off-stage personnel who were working and hoping for an ongoing paycheck aren’t getting it. But any time a major company wants to dump millions into the economy, it’s great for the working man. I hope CdS fails more often.

      Reply
  6. Zen Rebel Diva

    I and 2 of my friends saw it and loved it. We’ve seen many Cirque shows and loved them all. This one was different for sure. We went in with no expectations and reading no reviews. I like Robert Rodriguez, and after the opening montage, I got that it was a riff on Sin City, with the comic book/reality mix. I thought the torture scenes were pretty cool, but I am also old enough to remember seeing things like that at the Jim Rose Circus sideshow 20+ years ago on Coney Island. I was surprised they had such a sequence though. Overall, I loved the motorcycle acrobatics.

    Reply
  7. Richard j Bergeron

    Ya, motorcycle stunts really were the highlight of this show. I still think it should be marketed to a select audience and smaller venue. This is not what people want to see from Circle .

    Reply

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