Christian Slater’s Playback has been receiving a lot of criticism today since it is officially the lowest grossing film of 2012. But Playback’s $260 haul is pretty impressive compared to a movie starring Katherine Heigl, and Tom Sizemore. Zyzzyx Road was released in 2007 and only made $30 at the box office.
According to Entertainment Weekly, Zyzzyx Road ran for one week at the Dallas Highland Park Village Theater. The theater showed one time per day and at the end of the week exactly six people had seen it.
John Penny, who wrote, directed and produced the movie said that he was “mortified” to find out that it was the lowest grossing film in history.
”I was mortified. ‘I went, ‘Oh, my God, this is horrendous.’ I’m reading it and saying, ‘Oh, no. Oh, no! This isn’t how it’s supposed to go.’ I’ve been through a lot of crap in my career. I’ve seen so many things. But this movie is like my baby, and it’s being dragged around in the street with people poking sticks in it. It was brutal. It was ugly. I was reeling.”
According to Leo Grillo, who starred in the film, the movie was never really supposed to go to theaters. Grillo said that the movie was given a domestic release to fulfill a Screen Actors Guild agreement that would allow the producers to pay actors a lower rate. Grillo said that they rented the theater for $1000 and didn’t expect anyone to see it. They also didn’t expect the movie to be branded the lowest grossing film in history.
”I didn’t want an audience. 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. ‘We paid to show the movie every day. So legally speaking, we have a screening every single day. If a tree falls in the forest and nobody’s there, does it make a sound? In the law of physics, the answer’s no, but in the law of SAG, the answer’s yes.”
The makers of Christian Slater’s Payback haven’t commented on their $260 box office haul but it’s likely that Slater’s film was trying to slip through the same loophole. Playback only played in one theater and earned just $260.
And in case you’re wondering, this is what the lowest grossing movie in history looks like.