Photo: Everett CollectionThe two highest-grossing movies of 2012 (which saw the highest domestic box office figure of all time) were unavoidable: “The Avengers” and “The Dark Knight Rises.” People—especially on the Internet—spent months talking about them, nearly everyone had an opinion, good, bad or indifferent, but everyone knew they were in theaters. The converse, then, should be true of the year's lowest-grossing titles: even the worst movies attract a certain percentage of viewers looking to bask in the disaster, so for something to really gross a truly tiny amount of money, it stands to reason that it be something no one's ever heard of. The two lowest-grossing movies of 2012 certainly fit this bill.
Coming in at #655 and last on Box Office Mojo's domestic gross list is “The Ghastly Love of Johnny X,” with a grand total of $117 (not a typo), and the delightful tagline “They Sing! They Dance! They're Juvenile Delinquents From Outer Space,” this fantasy-comedy attracted one glowing review from /Film, but aside from that disappeared without a trace. In next-to-last place with a gross of $264 was “Playback,” an obscure (of course) but terribly-reviewed horror movie starring Christian Slater, whose distributor admitted the one-week theatrical engagement was of secondary importance to the VOD release, as is often the case with movies this far down in the rankings of domestic box office gross.
Neither “The Ghastly Love of Johnny X” nor “Playback” came close to besting the all-time low-box-office champion “Zzyxx Road,” which took in a mere $30. And, low though their grosses may certainly be, they have the honor of being the lowest grossers in the highest-grossing year on record, an honor “Zzyxx Road,” in all its glory, does not.