If Columbia University gives out Pulitzer Prizes in the category of Bad Cinema Reporting, then S.T. VanAirsdale surely has a lock on this year’s award. All week, he’s been working the bad movie beat over at Movieline, digging up the facts on something called “The Worst Movie EVER!” Made by Denver-based filmmaker Glenn Berggoetz, the picture opened last weekend at the Laemmle Sunset 5 in Los Angeles to the worst box office results ever: just one admission, for the grand total of $11. On the bright side, at least it was a full-priced admission. Just imagine what we’d be saying if that one ticket sold had been to a senior citizen or a member of our armed forces?
In a great piece called “The $11 Question: How The Worst Movie EVER! Scored the Worst Opening Ever,” VanAirsdale lays out the whole story behind this momentous event. He even speaks to Berggoetz who provides his own theory as to how a movie could make so little money.
“I figured I would promote the film as I had done with my previous film that received a theatrical release… do a bunch of social networking through e-mail and Facebook, and contact local media people and schedule interviews and reviews. I was busy all day last Monday the 15th traveling, so on Tuesday the 16th I began contacting media outlets in the L.A. area and sending out e-mails and postings. As the week wore on… I noticed two things — all of my contacts in L.A. were either busy for the weekend or out of town (I’m based in Denver, but a number of my previous cast members from other projects live in the L.A. area), and not one of the many media people in L.A. were getting back to me. I began to worry.”
That worry was well-founded since the film did return grosses in the lower two figures range (a spokesman for the Laemmle told VanAirsdale that “Worst Movie EVER!” is one of the worst showings in the theater’s long history). But perhaps there is light at the end of this $11 tunnel. The film’s quickly becoming the stuff of Internet legend as the worst grossing movie ever, a sales hook that plays nicely with that title. This week, almost 70,000 people watched the film’s trailer on YouTube. If even a fraction of those folks become curious enough to seek the film out, we could have a new cult hit on our hands.
Speaking of the trailer, here it is. Hard to say whether it’s the worst movie ever made based on just 90 seconds of footage but I will say this: the trailer doesn’t rule that possibility out.