John Penney, the writer, director and the producer of the film “Zyzzyx Road” was in complete shock when he received a letter from an online film site stating about the huge failure of his movie. Zyzzyx Road, a 2006 thriller movie starring Tom Sizemore and Katherine Heigl. The investment for the film was $1.2 million but did not even cross a gross amount of $30 at the box office.
About the film:
The film, ‘Zyzzyx Road’ got somewhat inspired by a real road just outside Las Vegas. The modest thriller concept revolved around an accountant (Leo Grillo) who hooks up with a gorgeous and alluring teenager (Katherine Heigl). She gets into an illicit relationship with a secret man (Tom Sizemore) in her flight in Vegas; then, she drives to the desert to kill him. The rest of the part of the story is entirely predictable.
How did Penney feet after the failure of his film?
Penney was utterly mortified. After having met with a lot of other crap in his film industry career, he thought at least – Zyzzyx Road, his baby, wouldn’t go this bad. The film posters were dragged on the streets, and the people were poking sticks in it. It was a complete disastrous, and ugly moment that Penney ever came across.
Penney’s life before the release of Zyzzyx Road
Penney was a successful and popular genre-film screenwriter in April 2004. He had written some cult movies like The Return of the Living Dead III and Contaminated Man, but everything changed after he met Leo Grillo.
The Premiere in Dallas
The movie had its premiere in Dallas on Feb, 24th 2006. The place was far off from the shooting area. Nobody showed up on the day of the premiere, no paparazzi, no red carpet, no other actor, and no stretch limos. The film played in the theatre for seven days, with a single screening each day at noon. After seven days, the gross collection was $30.
The movie was never meant to get premiered in Dallas, but eventually, it was released in this theatre to fulfill a Screen Actors Guild agreement. The agreement permits low-budget films to pay actors at a low rate. The release was merely a formality. And the theatre was rented every day for $1000. The plan was to wait for the actors’ Hollywood profiles to increase to get attention towards the film – Zyzzyx Road. The idea turned out well, and the film eventually sold out in 23 countries, including Indonesia, Portugal, and Bulgaria. The film ended up generating $368,000 by the end of 2006.
However, the actual box office amount earned by the film was $30, but eventually, after getting affected by the bad press and media, it gained a lot of popularity. Again, it was just a trick played by the producers of the film to get publicity without even paying for it. The bad press kept on playing their part, but on the other hand, John Penney kept on receiving emails from different countries to see how they can watch the film. So the film – Zyzzyx Road turned out to gain a high profile and also delivered its star cast with a more significant profile in the industry.