Somewhere out there – possibly reading this very article – are the members of a most exclusive fraternity. These people (I think there may be three of them) may not know each other. They may not know they belong to such a tiny club. But they played a pivotal role in movie history: these people helped the Tom Sizemore and Katherine Heigl-starring movie Zyzzyx Road reach an astonishing 30 dollars at the domestic box office.
That’s not a typo. I didn’t mean 30 million dollars. Or 300,000 dollars. Zyzzyx Road, released on February 25th of 2006, was released in one theater, where it played for six days and earned 30 dollars total. That would be an average of five dollars per day, although Box Office Mojo tells us that the film actually made the bulk of its money – twenty bucks – on the opening weekend.
In the next few days I hope to get more facts about Zyzzyx Road’s seemingly unprecedented theatrical release, including where the film played. My gut instinct tells me that it was at a theater in Los Angeles [UPDATE! Part of the mystery has been solved: Zyzzyx Road opened at the Highland Village Park Theater in Dallas, Texas! Thanks to Ed Douglas for the information], where it had to play briefly to meet contractual obligations. If it did play in Los Angeles, that 30 dollar total probably means three people saw the film over the course of its run – not counting theater employees with morbid curiosities. Who were those three paying customers? Who were the people who saw “Zyzzyx Road” on a theater marquee and just had to pay ten bucks to see it?
Zyzzyx Road is the latest film from Leo Grillo Productions, a company set up by actor Leo Grillo to give him movies in which he can star. In Zyzzyx Road, Leo plays Grant, who is having an affair with Katherine Heigl’s Marissa – yes, Leo Grillo cast himself in a movie where he gets to fuck the Grey’s Anatomy star. Her boyfriend, played by Tom Sizemore, finds out and Grant is forced to kill him. Yes, Leo Grillo cast himself in a movie where he gets to kill Sizemore, a man who is obviously completely indestructible in real life (how else do you explain his continued survival after years of astonishing drug and sexual abuse?).
I do have to give Leo some credit, though – when he’s not making movies only seen by three humans, he spends a lot of time working on rescuing animals with his group DELTA Rescuer. In fact his next movie, Magic, is about a lost dog or some such heartwarming shit. Maybe it escaped the Old Navy commercials. At any rate, it stars Robert Davi, showing Grillo’s sincere commitment to helping out the beasts of the world.
Back to the movie – it’s not available on DVD, as far as I can tell. Has it played on television? I imagine this is perfect fodder for one of the Starz specialty channels (“Tonight, on Starz Utter Shit You’ll Only Watch Because You’re Too Stoned to Change the Channel…”), so perhaps some of our readers have come across it during their late night channel flipping. It does seem like Heigl alone would be name enough to get this thing on digital versatile disc… but then again, I imagined that anyone who made a movie would have enough friends and family to go buy tickets to earn more than 30 dollars. I spent more than that in a couple of hours at the bar on Friday night, for the love of God.
Did you see Zyzzyx Road in the theater? If you did – and if you have the ticket stub to prove it – get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I need to know what the Zyzzyx Road experience is like, and what drew you into the theater in the first place. In the new year I will try to track down as many of the people involved in this film as possible and get their stories. Before this weekend I feared I would never be able to track down Tom Sizemore at whatever flophouse where he was currently fucking prostitutes, but it seems that he has a new show on VH1 that might make him accessible. I also hope to be able to see Zyzzyx Road for myself. After I find out whether or not the three people who previously saw the movie survived, that is. You can never be to safe.
Thanks to Brian Collins for alerting me to this movie’s existence.