11 movies that made less than $400 at the U.S. box office

[Read the post]

1 Like

Zyzzyx Road

Almost as good as The Rural Juror…


It’s YYZed!


I suspect that movie is the result of some Hollywood screenwriters getting hammered in Vegas and belatedly remembering on the drive back that they had to put together a movie pitch in time for a meeting that afternoon.

Shit! My brain’s fried! OK, horror movie ideas. Uh, “The Yucca Tree!” “Roadkill!” “Last Gas 20 Miles!” Shit shit shit. Fuck it, no time. Next sign we pass, that’s the title of the movie.


Pretty Village, Pretty Flame is a great, great film. Like all internet hype articles, many of the entries in here are somewhat misleading, but you probably already knew that. Regardless, I highly recommend this Serbian black comedy which tells you that, surprise surprise, war is a backwards, stupid-ass human joke.

1 Like

Trojan War was actually a good movie.

I imagine it did quite well on the Blockbuster rental circuit among teenage boys who liked JLH.

I wonder how many of these are trying to pull a Max Bialystok…


What you mean The Wild World Of Batwoman did better than these films?

1 Like

It’s probably worth noting that a number of the more recent films listed were probably never intended to make much at the box office.

It used to be that four-walling your feature was something you did only if you’d made a terrible vanity picture, but in recent years distributors have been using it as a way of gaining reviews and pull-quotes for movies that were produced for distribution via streaming services. (Basically: a way of getting relatively inexpensive publicity for something that would have gone straight-to-video in the past, as until recently the New York Times made it a point of reviewing every movie shown at a theatre in the city.)

That said, the list is kinda shit. There are a number of spots where they give one number, and then in the write up for the entry it’s noted that it actually earned more—sometimes significantly—once it opened in a different city a week or two (or three) later.


The real problem with “Zyzzyx Road” is that they misspelled “xyzzy”. It never goes well when you mess up the magic words… just ask Ash Williams over at S-Mart.


United Passions must have made $401 then, as I’m surprised I don’t see it on this list.

It blew these films away. It made $918 on its opening weekend alone!

I don’t see Uma Thurman’s Motherhood on here. Didn’t that make something like 80 quid at the cinema in the UK?
(Edit, never mind, that made $40K in the US)

1 Like

I did a bit of googling and it turns out it was an intentional end-run around SAG union rules:

In truth, nobody was supposed to see Zyzzyx Road at all. The Dallas screening was never meant to be a real theatrical run. Instead, it was set up to fulfill a Screen Actors Guild agreement, which permits low-budget films to pay actors a lower rate as long as the film gets a domestic theatrical release. The Dallas ”opening” was merely a formality. ”I didn’t want an audience,” says Grillo. ”We looked at it and said, What’s the cheapest way we can get out of this mess? We rented the theater for $1,000.”

Basically the producers wanted to sell it right away as “generic american thriller-action hot babe boom explosion” movie to foreign markets, but because of SAG rules they had to have a domestic theatrical release first. So they rented a cheap theater and predictably nobody came.


Katherine Heigl - Kate, Katie, Kat. She may do WHATEVER she may wish with me, whenever she may wish, including subjecting me to god-awful videos. Please. Now. Harder.

ETA: Make me watch all of Roswell again, oh god. Faster.


But it is a typo.

I know that theater very well…just a few blocks from my grandma’s house and where I grew up. A grand and majestic movie house with big balcony back then but it’s been converted into a tiny 3-plex since. It’s very retro hip and artificial now.

Ah, the legendary Highland Park Village Theater. The Highland Park Village itself is famous for being the nation’s first shopping center, and is a National Historic Landmark. The 80 year old theater is a bit of an oddball. Rocky Horror played there as a midnight show for many, many years. And the very proper A Room With A View inexplicably had an unbroken run of over a year there.

Interesting. I figured on that one, since it was Dallas, that it couldn’t have been trying for a review but figured there must have been some reason for showing in only one theatre for such a short period.

Wasn’t aware of that particular rule, but I see that I wasn’t wrong in my suspicion.

(And that feels kind of low on the producers’ part.)

Not only are there some movies which made less than $400. But the vast majority of movies made fare about the same, because only about maybe 5% of them are shown at all in US cinemas. Most people seem to assume that “mainstream” movies are the ones they see, when it’s really the reverse. They hear of a few shown in cinemas by distributors who are monopolistic outlets to a handful of studios.

Oh, man I forgot about the Rur Jur. Gave me a good laugh. Thanks. :smile:

1 Like