Zyzzyx Road

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Not to be confused with Zzyzx (film).
Zyzzyx Road
Zyzzyx Road movie poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by John Penney
Produced by John Penney
Written by John Penney
Starring Leo Grillo
Katherine Heigl
Tom Sizemore
Music by Ryan Beveridge
Cinematography David Klein
Edited by Joseph Gutowski
Zyzzyx LLC
Distributed by GoDigital Media Group
Release dates
  • February 25, 2006 (2006-02-25)
Running time
86 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $1.3 million[1]
Box office $30

Zyzzyx Road (/zəˈzɪzɪks/ zə-ZIZ-iks) is a 2006 American thriller film written and directed by John Penney. It stars Leo Grillo, Katherine Heigl, and Tom Sizemore. The film's name is an allusion to "Zzyzx Road", a rural road off of Interstate 15 in California's Mojave Desert, with the road's name slightly altered. It is a different film from the similarly named Zzyzx.

The film has gained a degree of notoriety due to being considered the lowest grossing movie in history with a domestic gross of $30 USD.


Grant is an accountant with a bad marriage and a daughter whom he loves. He takes to the road to service his accounts in Las Vegas. While there he meets seductive Marissa. They have a week-long affair which culminates in the arrival of Marissa's ex-boyfriend, Joey. Joey attempts to kill the lovers, but Grant gets the upper hand and in turn kills Joey. Grant and Marissa then drive Joey's body to Zyzzyx Road and Grant buries Joey in the desert there. The next morning, the body is missing and something is trying to kill Grant and Marissa.



The role of Marissa was originally offered to Thora Birch but she turned it down.[1] Principal photography took place in the summer of 2005 and lasted 18 days, plus an additional two days for pickup scenes. The film was shot entirely on location in the Mojave Desert, in and around local mines.[2] Sizemore and long-time friend Peter Walton, who worked as Sizemore's assistant, were arrested during the film's production for repeatedly failing drug tests while on probation. Police discovered that Walton had a warrant out for his arrest for child pornography distribution and was subsequently jailed. Sizemore was not jailed, making it possible for him to film his scenes.[1]

Release and box office gross[edit]

Zyzzyx Road was shown once a day at noon for six days (February 25 – March 2, 2006) at Highland Park Village Theater in Dallas, Texas,[3] a movie theater rented by the producers for $1,000.[1] The limited release was deliberate: Grillo was uninterested in releasing the film domestically until it underwent foreign distribution, but needed to fulfill the U.S. release obligation required by the Screen Actors Guild for low-budget films[1] (films with budgets less than $2.5 million that are not for the direct-to-video market).[4]

The strategy had the side effect of making the film at the time the lowest-grossing film of all time, earning just one cent at the box office from six patrons.[5] Unofficially, its opening weekend netted $20. The $10 difference is due to a personal refund by Grillo to makeup artist Sheila Moore, who had worked on the film, and her friend.[1]

The similarly-named Zzyzx has also (mistakenly) been cited as the lowest-grossing film of all time, due to the similar titles and release dates of the films.[6]

Home media[edit]

The film was released on DVD in 23 countries, including Bulgaria, Indonesia and Portugal and by the end of 2006 had earned about $368,000.[1] In September 2012, the film was released on DVD in North America, one carrier being Redbox.[7]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Brunner, Rob (February 16, 2007). "The Strange and Twisted Tale of...The Movie That Grossed $30.00". Entertainment Weekly. pp. 46–49. 
  2. ^ "Leo Grillo Interview". Katherine Heigl Online. 2006-06-10. Retrieved 2007-01-02. 
  3. ^ Strowbridge, C.S. (2006-02-24). "Little Films Hoping to be Big Fish in Limited Release Pond". The Numbers News (Nash Information Services, LLC.). Retrieved 2007-01-02. 
  4. ^ The New Ishtar, a February 2007 article from Time magazine
  5. ^ "Zyzzyx Road (2006)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2007-01-02. 
  6. ^ Faraci, Devin. (January 10, 2007) Chud.com Crisis on infinite Zyzzyx roads.
  7. ^ http://www.redbox.com/movies/zyzzyx-road

External links[edit]