In today’s world, movie profits routinely go into the hundreds of millions of dollars for big-budget blockbusters, but even a moderately successful film can still earn millions at the box office. Yet, there are films that distinguish themselves by just how little money they earn at the box office. We’re not talking millions of dollars, but a little over a thousand, or even just a few dozen dollars. While there are many films that earn less than a thousand dollars at the box office, here are five of the most memorable:
- Come Out And Play (2013)
- United Passions (2014)
Financed almost entirely by the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), Passions followed the heartwarming saga of three company presidents struggling to make the world fall in love with soccer… and had the misfortune to come out during the peak of the FIFA corruption scandal, earning it a rare 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and a US theatrical gross of $918 on a $32 million budget.
- The Marsh (2007)
Getting an Oscar-winning performer is no guarantee that your movie will succeed. Just ask the producers of The Marsh, a 2007 supernatural thriller that starred Forrest Whitaker (fresh from winning an Oscar for his work in The Last King Of Scotland). But despite the presence of an Oscar-wining star, the film was released in just one theater for three days, earning a total of $336 (though it did eventually earn over two million overseas).
- Storage 24 (2013)
Monster movies are a good, cheap way to make some money, but Storage 24, a British sci-fi movie featuring a bunch of people trapped in a warehouse with an alien, didn’t have the same luck with audiences in the United States, grossing just $72 during its release in a single, independent theater, an amount that wouldn’t even rent a real-life storage unit for a month.
- Zyzzyx Road (2006)
During the heyday of the video store (remember those?), you could go in and find any number of direct-to-video films made for cheap by their respective studios. Most of these were destined to earn a lot less money than their big-screen brethren, but none of them probably ever came close to the thriller Zyzzyx Road [sic] which ran for one-week in a Texas theater and earned exactly $30, a world record for the lowest-grossing theatrical film in history… and it may be even lower, as the film’s director personally refunded one of the film’s viewers, bringing the unofficial total to $20.
Why such a low total? Like most of the films on this list, Zyzzyx Road was intended to make most of its money in DVD and overseas sales, but had to be shown theatrically to fulfill contracts with actor’s unions. It did so, and in the process secured its place in cinematic history as the lowest grossing theatrically-released film of all time.
This horror film was directed by an individual named Makinov, who regularly wears masks to disguise his identity, a trait he kept up through production of the film and even promotion at the Toronto International Film Festival. Whether he’s a real person or an actor doing a PR stunt remains unknown (he dedicated the film to ‘The Martyrs of Stalingrad’), his mysterious persona didn’t translate to box office success, as the film earned just $2,638 during its theatrical run.