Zyzzyx Road — Lowest Grossing Movie In History

Posted on August 2, 2012 at 8:00 am

We can all name at least a few of the movies in the top 10 box office winners of all time.  But not many people know that the rec0rd-holder for the lowest ticket revenues of all time is “Zyzzyx Road,” starring Katherine Heigl and Tom Sizemore.  The official figure is just $30 from just six patrons, reduced later to $20 after the film-makers refunded two tickets bought by the film’s make-up artist.

Entertainment Weekly had a sympathetic story.

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.”

At most of the screenings, Grillo’s plan worked just fine: Nobody showed up. Even so, the movie had to run. ”We paid to show the movie every day,” says Grillo. ”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.”

Grillo decided to pursue foreign sales first and worry about a legitimate domestic release much later, betting on the rise of Heigl’s and Sizemore’s Hollywood profiles (Grey’s Anatomy soon grew into one of TV’s highest-rated shows, and Sizemore landed a VH1 reality show). Regent Entertainment started hawking the foreign DVD rights, eventually selling the film in 23 countries, including Bulgaria, Indonesia, and Portugal. By the end of 2006, it had generated around $368,000.

Want to see it?  You’re in luck.  The Zyzzyx Road DVD was released today. If you see it, let me know what you think!

 

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Behind the Scenes

Answers: Katherine Heigl Quiz

Posted on January 30, 2012 at 8:00 am

Thanks to all who answered!

1. Heigl appeared in a film that reportedly only sold 30 tickets, making it officially the biggest money-loser of all time.  What is its title?

“Zyzzyx Road”

2. One of the best-remembered love stories on “Grey’s Anatomy” involved Heigl’s character Izzie?  What was the name of the man she loved?

Denny

3. Heigl was a teenager when she co-starred with Gerard Depardieu in what film?

“My Father the Hero”

4.  Name another character Heigl had a romantic relationship with in “Grey’s Anatomy.”

George

5. Which Heigl movie had her married to a spy?

“Killers”

6.  Which Heigl movie had her attending many weddings?

“27 Dresses”

7.  Her most famous role had her as a television producer who had what life-changing experience?

She got pregnant following a one-night stand in “Knocked Up”

8. She appeared in a horror movie series — which one?

She was in “Bride of Chucky.”

9.  What is the name of the author who created Stephanie Plum?

Janet Evanovich

10. Where are the Stephanie Plum movies set?

Trenton, New Jersey

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One for the Money

Posted on January 29, 2012 at 3:27 pm

Someday to be used in film schools as a textbook example of how not to adapt a best-selling novel for the screen, “One for the Money” is mis-cast, mis-scripted, and mis-directed in every category.  Janet Evanovich’s popular series of series of books about lingerie saleswoman-turned bounty hunter Stephanie Plum seemed like a sure bet.  But what’s not a sure bet is an actress who signs on as producer so she can cast herself in what turns out to be a misbegotten vanity project.

Katherine Heigl is a beautiful actress whose greatest attribute is an imperishable freshness.  In the right movie, like “Knocked Up,” that works in her favor. Surrounded by the crudest possible material the contrast she provided gave warmth and romance to the film.  But her range is limited and she is way beyond her capacity as a gritty Jersey girl who once ran over the guy who never called after they had sex on the floor of the bakery where she was working.  Stephanie Plum is not supposed to be perky and adorable.  She’s supposed to be sadder but wiser, determined, and, above all, game.  Director Julie Ann Robinson has more experience with television (“Two Broke Girls,” Heigl’s “Grey’s Anatomy”) and never finds the right rhythm for the material.  It is lumpen and awkward and it telegraphs its surprises.  And just because it is written, directed, and produced by women does not keep it from being sexist, with some unfortunate stereotyped sassy black hookers thrown in for added discomfort.

It is hard to work up the energy to be offended by the stereotypes, though, when one is suffocating from the lethargy induced by the movie’s sluggish pacing and the fog induced by Heigl’s attempts at snappy dialog and a New Jersey accent.

Stephanie is a divorcee (“I had a husband.  I didn’t like it.  I don’t want another one.”) who lost her job selling lingerie and is about to lose her car for failure to keep up the payments.  Her cousin is a bail bondsman who needs someone to help with filing.  She blackmails him into giving it to her and then realizes that the real money is in bounty hunting and that the number one fugitive is Joe Morelli (Jason O’Mara), a cop charged with murder who in one of the movie’s most tiresome contrivances, has a past connection with Stephanie.  Everyone in Trenton has a past connection with Stephanie.

We are then treated to a series of scenes in which Stephanie gets some guidance on bounty hunting from the hunky Ranger (Daniel Sunjata, another “Grey’s Anatomy” transplant) and has a series of cat-and-mouse encounters with Joe (the hunky Jason O’Mara of “Life on Mars”), trading painful quips that are supposed to be flirtatious but thud with a squish like overripe grapefruit.  The mixed messages (Joe may be on the lam and handcuff her, naked, to the shower rod but he brings her coffee in bed) would be annoying if the whole movie was not too lethargic to merit that much attention.

 

(more…)

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Based on a book Crime

Quiz: Katherine Heigl

Posted on January 23, 2012 at 3:52 pm

This week Katherine Heigl stars as detective Stephanie Plum in her new movie, “One for the Money.”  How many questions about her previous roles can you answer?  

1. Heigl appeared in a film that reportedly only sold 30 tickets, making it officially the biggest money-loser of all time.  What is its title?

2. One of the best-remembered love stories on “Grey’s Anatomy” involved Heigl’s character Izzie?  What was the name of the man she loved?

3. Heigl was a teenager when she co-starred with Gerard Depardieu in what film?

4.  Name another character Heigl had a romantic relationship with in “Grey’s Anatomy.”

5. Which Heigl movie had her married to a spy?

6.  Which Heigl movie had her attending many weddings?

7.  Her most famous role had her as a television producer who had what life-changing experience?

8. She appeared in a horror movie series — which one?

9.  What is the name of the author who created Stephanie Plum?

10. Where are the Stephanie Plum movies set?

 

 

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