The Lowest Grossing Movie of All Time and Why it Bombed

As Hollywood is full of billion-dollar blockbuster franchises, it may come as a huge surprise to some that the lowest-grossing movie ever made by a film was a mere $30. It wasn’t some obscure B-movie from the ‘50s, but a 2006 feature film starring actors who, at the time, were well known. The thriller Zyzzyx Road featured Katherine Heigl, who was already receiving acclaim for playing the fan favorite Grey’s Anatomy character, Izzie Stevens, and Tom Sizemore, who had supporting roles in a number of blockbusters, including Saving Private Ryan and Black Hawk Down. It took a unique set of circumstances for Zyzzyx Road — named for the rural Mojave Desert road on which it takes place — to set the box office bar so catastrophically low. While the writing and acting weren’t Oscar material, it wasn’t purely the movie’s poor quality that made it bomb. Producers had to fulfill a Screen Actors Guild agreement that required them to release the film domestically. So, producers decided the cheapest way to fulfill the agreement would be to rent a theater is Dallas for $1,000 and show the film. They didn’t even want an audience. As it turned out, only 6 tickets at $5 each were sold. To add insult to injury, after the producers refunded the film’s makeup artist, they technically only made $20 on the theatrical run. Eventually, the film was released on DVD in 23 countries and by the end of 2006 it had earned a pitiful $368,000.