Patch - An enterprising young Long Island filmmaker had the No. 1 movie in America last week — despite theaters being closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. And the story of how he did it is a reminder that happily-ever-after endings don't always happen on just the silver screen.
Last month, Nilsson said, he and YouTuber Eric Tabach were chatting about how movie theaters across the country were closed due to the pandemic.
"We joked any film put in a theater would instantly top the box office," Nilsson said. "Realizing the unique situation presented a loophole, we hatched a plan."
The next day, Nilsson wrote a short horror film titled "Unsubscribe." He shot it a week later, completely over Zoom.
"Last week, Eric and I bought out a theater in Westhampton Beach and screened to an empty audience," he said. "The next day, it was the number one box office movie in America, as reported by 'The Numbers.'"
This is AWESOME. So, so smart. I love stories like this. For the rest of their lives, from now until the sun explodes, these guys get to tell people they once had the #1 movie in America. Up there with Spielberg, Scorsese, and Capra. Except they didn't need $100 million budgets, DiCaprio, or special effects. Just a few kids and a Zoom camera (and a pandemic forcing every movie theater to be closed, but that's besides the point).
As Herb Brooks said in Miracle, "Great moments are born from great opportunity". And they took this opportunity and ran with it.
Describing the experience, Nilsson said: "We saw an absurd loophole in the system that at any other time would be impossible to exploit and thought it would be funny. Last year, the number one film at this time was 'The Secret Life of Pets 2'. This year, it was a $0 budget horror film made over Zoom."
What's great is you could totally see this movie becoming a movie. Someone is going to buy up the rights. From $0 movie to major motion picture, only in America.