These are strange times indeed. With the movie industry grinding to a halt, some smaller names were always going to take the spotlight – but this is ridiculous. Unsubscribe, a horror movie filmed on Zoom with literally no budget, has topped the US box office.
The movie – from actor Eric Tabach and filmmaker Christian Nilsson – sees five YouTubers join a video conferencing call before their chat is interrupted by a disturbing figure. It’s only half-an-hour long, with each actor volunteering to work for no fee, and the movie can be rented through Vimeo.
So, how did it top the box office? Obviously, a lack of competition helped – as did a movie industry loophole that allowed Unsubscribe to reach number one in the box office: four walling.
“Four walling is when distributors rent out a movie theatre and buy all the seats," Rabach told the BBC. "So they pay a flat fee to the theatre, and any money they make off seats goes straight into their pockets. The moment we realised that was an option of distribution, we went for it."
While the pair were unable to see a penny in revenue thanks to the tactic, it "made" $25,000 on June 10 (via Box Office Mojo) thanks to the pair renting out a theatre and buying tickets for an empty screening. Rabach admits they “made a slight loss” on the movie with the four-walling loophole but the fact still remains: a movie with no budget topped the box office, no matter how briefly. Your move, Chris Nolan.
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