When life serves you a dud of a marketplace you make Milk Duds
Theaters are closed, film and TV productions are halted, and there are far fewer entertainment options as we have been sequestered in our homes. While we have been served an endless stream of tales of anxiety and stress as a result of this pandemic it serves as a decent tonic to see a tale of creativity and ingenuity.
Christian Nillson has never been heard of before, his name carries no sway in Hollywood, and as far as most people know he has never had a movie that was seen by anyone. Yet this complete cipher in the entertainment world came out with a most audacious claim; ”Last week I had the #1 MOVIE IN AMERICA.”
The only thing more outlandish than a complete unknown making the boast of having the top motion picture in the country — it was a complete factual statement. Nilsson had hit upon an idea that was hatched in this pandemic atmosphere, he created a specifically pandemic-centered film, and he executed a plan that could only be executed successfully during a pandemic. Now he has some killer marketing heft behind him and his movie, ‘’Unsubscribe’’.
Nilsson and a media-savvy friend were kicking around the idea of how to leverage the dormant theater environment and hit upon a plan; find an agreeable exhibitor and make a horror film on the cheap, bring it to the theater on one of the slowest movie days of the week and purchase all of the seats, and hold a screening for just he and his friend. This would generate just enough box office gross reporting to have the film on the national chart.
Nilsson cobbled together a crew of YouTube performers and they shot the film entirely on the video conferencing platform Zoom. At first there was a snag as IMDB.com did not acknowledge the cast was legitimately tied into the movie, but once the movie database company gave them proper credit. This also qualified the title to be listed on the IMDB-owned website Box Office Mojo, and as they found out their gambit paid off huge — their meager gross of $25,488 was enough to edge out the competition and become the top movie in the country on June, 10.
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.”
It is a ploy, a dose of chicanery – sure. But it is also a rather ingenious concept that is sure to pay dividends…especially when barely anything was spent on the film. (Through the arrangement with the theater Nillson, as producer, was able to collect most of the money he placed down to buy the tickets.) Now he has some serious marketing as his movie can be rented on video on demand, where people in their home can screen ‘’The #1 Movie In America.’’ You have to applaud the savvy moves behind it.
‘’Unsubscribed’’ is available to stream for $3.99