Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Illustration for article titled Filmmakers use loophole to get their no-budget movie to number one at the U.S. box office
Photo: Douglas P. DeFelice (Getty Images)

As we’ve seen before, the pandemic offers the most enterprising of grifters a rare chance to turn global misery into money. It also allows non-scumbags, like the filmmakers who just found a clever way to get their indie movie to number one at the box office, an opportunity to take advantage of a horrible time to far less stomach-churning effect.


Unsubscribed, a movie shot entirely on Zoom that bears more than a passing resemblance to Skype horror flick Unfriended was created by Christian Nilsson and YouTuber Eric Tabach. In any other time, it probably wouldn’t be all that remarkable. But, thanks to some clever thinking on Nilsson and Tabach’s parts, Unsubscribed was the number one movie in the United States last Wednesday.


According to a Facebook post by Nilsson, the two were thinking that “any film put in a theater would instantly top the box office” right now. Realizing that a loophole would allow them, as distributors of the yet-unmade movie, to get back the money spent on buying out the seats of a theater they rented, Nilsson and Tabach wrote and filmed their remotely-filmed horror movie within a week. “Eric and I bought out a theater in Westhampton Beach and screened to an empty audience,” Nilsson writes. “The next day, it was the number one box office movie in America.”

In an article from local news site, Patch, Nilsson says all of this effort was expended just because he and Tabach “thought it would be funny” to get “a $0 budget horror film made over Zoom” to the top of the box office. And yeah, the fact that, for at least a day, Unsubscribe—which has now, like so many other movies this year, been released on demand—looked on paper like 2020's movie of the summer, is pretty hilarious.

Send Great Job, Internet tips to gji@theonion.com

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Reid's a writer and editor who has appeared at GQ, Playboy, and Paste. He also co-created and writes for videogame sites Bullet Points Monthly and Digital Love Child.

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