Colorado film The Worst Movie EVER! opens to dismal $11 box office, then goes viral
The headline potential is almost too good to be true: A movie called The Worst Movie EVER! hauls in the worst opening-weekend box office ever, selling exactly one ticket for a total gross of $11.
And yet it is true, and it happened to Glenn Berggoetz, a Metro State professor by day and maker of extremely silly movies, like last year's To Die is Hard, by night (or whenever his spare time is) as the head of his production company, Driving With Our Eyes Shut Productions. Not that he was particularly excited about the abysmal flop when it happened, but the irony (or utter lack thereof) was evidently rich enough that the sad opening weekend is starting to look like a godsend.
Berggoetz basically specializes in making intentionally stupid movies (in this one, he directs and produces, and also plays both a scientist and a gold-hearted retard), so a shot at the worst movie ever made canonical sense -- sort of a magnum crapus, if you will -- and it attracted some initial attention just on that basis. Even still, he knew he was scoring a sweet deal when the Laemmle Sunset 5 in Los Angeles offered to premier the movie with a chance for more screenings -- the Sunset 5 has a long-running and successful tradition of showing notoriously awful cult shit-flick The Room on the final weekend of each month, so the idea was, if Worst Movie EVER! could perform at its premier, it could take the second-to-last weekend of the month cult flick slot.
"I was just freaking-out happy about it," Berggoetz recalls. But there were some delays and some miscommunications, theater manager Greg Laemmle was going on vacation and, by the time the premier date was settled, it was already late in the game. "Greg let me know on a Sunday they were going to show the film that Friday, and I was traveling and didn't have time to really start promoting it until Tuesday. I mean, I'm not some big L.A. guy or anything, but I know a few people in L.A., so I figured I could get at least a few people to show up -- but this guy was out of town, this guy was tied up with a shoot, this one couldn't make it. But still, I'm thinking, 'This is L.A. At least a few dozen people will probably just walk in off the street, right?'"
Wrong. Not a single paying customer entered the theater that Friday, and one random guy came in the next night. (Since then, a few people have claimed to be that guy, but nobody has been able to produce the ticket stub to prove it.)
"So all weekend I'm waiting to see how it did, just on the edge of my chair," Berggoetz continues, "and on Monday morning I get an email: One person showed up. The film made $11. I was just staring at the computer screen. I couldn't believe it.
"So I'd already been in contact with Box Office Mojo, and I'd told them I'd send him the numbers for the box office. So I thought, 'Well, this is embarrassing,' but I just sent them the numbers anyway. A few minutes later, I get an email back, like, 'is this a typo?' No, it's not a typo."