Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Empire Records' Rex Manning Day Explained

"Empire Records" may have celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2020, but fans of the 1990s cult classic film find a way to honor it every year. The film, which wasn't well-received by critics (via Rotten Tomatoes) or successful at the box office when it was first released (via BoxOfficeMojo), has gone on to have quite the legacy among moviegoers. Not only did several of the movie's cast members, including Liv Tyler and Renée Zellweger, go on to have successful careers after its release, but the film itself has garnered a loyal fanbase over the years, as is evidenced by its impressive 83% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes.

Released in 1995, the movie focuses on the lives and antics of a group of record store employees as they all grow up and find new ways to reconnect with each other over the course of a single day. Of course, the film doesn't just take place on any normal day, but one that is referred to as "Rex Manning Day" by the store's employees. Now, over 25 years after the film's release, fans of "Empire Records" continue to celebrate Rex Manning Day every year on April 8.

Even Rex Manning is surprised by Empire Records' legacy

In "Empire Records," Maxwell Caulfield plays Rex Manning, a 1980s pop star who has faded into obscurity but is scheduled to show up at the film's eponymous record store to sign autographs for his new album. As a result, the shop's employees all take to mockingly referring to the event as "Rex Manning Day." Of course, what none of the characters realize is that the event itself will actually force them to face some difficult truths about themselves over the course of the film's story.

On social media, fans of the film have begun honoring "Empire Records" by celebrating Rex Manning Day every April 8, the same date that the movie takes place. It's a tradition that has not only brought "Empire Records" fans together but has also warmed the hearts of the film's cast members, including Caulfield.

The "Empire Records" star spoke with The Hollywood Reporter in April 2021 about the Rex Manning Day celebrations that pop up on social media every year, saying, "It's titled 'Rex Manning Day,' but it might as well be called 'Empire Records Day.'" The actor went on to admit that he didn't pay attention to the film's growing legacy for many years because of how it was originally received. "It initially eluded me ... I didn't give it the credence that it has developed over the years," Caulfield said. The actor added that "Empire Records" still "holds up" and called making it a "lovely experience."

As for what he thinks might have happened to his egotistical character after the events of "Empire Records," Caulfield told THR, "I think today he would be a judge on 'American Idol.' I don't think he'd thrown in the towel. He was a real trooper."