How This $0 Budget Short Film Managed to Hit #1 at the U.S. Box Office

Using a once in a lifetime loophole, these filmmakers made it to the top of the U.S. box office with their $0 short film.

We all dream about having our name in lights and having the top movie at the box office. But during corona, that seems like an idea from the distant past. Still, the thing getting me through these times is the fool's hope that someday I'll see my name up there on the marquee. 

But two guys aren't just dreaming it, they're doing it. 

Christian Nilsson and YouTuber Eric Tabach are friends who one day chatted 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."

That plan led to Unsubscribe, last week's #1 movie in America

The logline Unsubscribe is, "Five YouTubers join an online video-call and find themselves haunted and hunted by a mysterious internet troll." Written and directed by Christian Nilsson, the film stars Eric Tabach (Love Is Strange), Charlie Tahan (Ozark, I Am Legend), Michelle Khare (HBO Max's Karma), Zach Kornfeld (The Try Guys), Thomas Brag (Yes Theory), Sneako, Lauren Brodauf, and Tyler Brash.

So, how do you get the #1 movie in America? 

Nilsson told Patch, "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."

The guys decided that if they rented out a theater they could charge for the tickets and keep all the profits. This idea is called "four-walling." he said. "If we bought every seat, the money would funnel right back into our own pockets."

They then took a week to write a movie that could happen completely on Zoom. Then they shot it. 

Finally, it was time for their theatrical debut. 

Christian Nilsson and Eric Tabach
Christian Nilsson and Eric Tabach

"Last week, Eric and I bought out a theater in Westhampton Beach and screened to an empty audience. The next day, it was the number one box office movie in America, as reported by 'The Numbers,'" he said.

What a crazy and genius idea that really paid off. And their #1 status has been backed by Box Office Mojo as well. To date, the film has pulled in nearly $26,000.

There are certainly smart and courageous people still trying to bring creativity into the world as the country and world spirals. I can't wait to see more of these stories popping up and applaud these guys for figuring this out. 

I look forward to what they come up with next. 

Watch Unsubscribe here! 

Your Comment


It should probably be clarified that it wasn't the #1 movie for the week (or weekend), it was #1 only on the single day of Wednesday, June 10.

June 19, 2020 at 4:22PM


Hollywood executives will also notice you if you go shit on their porch & might have a very similar reaction .. So go take a shit. Cz it will smell less than this garbage

June 21, 2020 at 7:50AM



June 25, 2020 at 11:13PM

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