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The Worst Movie of 2012 Was Truly Ghastly

The Ghastly Love of Johnny X
Source: Ghastly Johnny X LLC
The Ghastly Love of Johnny X

What do you think was the worst movie of 2012?

"John Carter," a movie so bad Disney wrote it off as a $200 million loss? Well, at least the film brought in an estimated $72 million in ticket sales domestically, plus another $210 million worldwide.

"Cloud Atlas," the confusing film starring Oscar winners Tom Hanks and Halle Berry which cost about $100 million to make? Movie goers did fork over nearly $66 million globally to see it.

Nope, based on ticket sales, the worst movie of 2012 was "The Ghastly Love of Johnny X," a 106-minute long black-and-white $2 million musical fiasco. According to Box Office Mojo, Johnny's box office wasn't boffo. At all. Total ticket sales added up to … $117 ("not a typo" said Yahoo!).

One hundred and seventeen dollars? So, like, 10 people went to see it?

The plot summary on IMDB.com says the film is "[a] truly mad concoction, blending 1950s juvenile delinquents, sci-fi melodrama, song-and-dance, and a touch of horror, everything in just the right combination to create an engaging big screen spectacle!"

The movie focuses on these mischievous teen aliens who sing peppy songs, like the one in this clip—"Here we go, baby, let's break the rules."

I can't imagine why this wasn't a hit!

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Think the film was populated by a bunch of no names? Wrong.

Creed Bratton from "The Office" gets second billing. Veteran actor Kevin McCarthy of "Invasions of the Body Snatchers," who died in 2010, makes his last appearance in the movie as "The Grand Inquisitor." Even Paul Williams is back on the big screen! But the film's main star is Will Keenan, called "a cult legend" by some critics.

"The Ghastly Love of Johnny X" has its own website, and 133 people follow it on Twitter. Why so few tickets sold? The explanation on Twitter is that the movie was only shown once in a single theater in Kansas. Hmmmm, if you're thinking this whole endeavor sounds like the plot from "The Producers," I'm with you.

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Perhaps the joke is on us. As word leaks out about how awful the movie performed, DVD sales could soar ... as soon as the movie is out on DVD. And the quality of film used in the movie has generated buzz. Director Paul Bunnell used stock from Kodak which has gone the way of ... well … most of Kodak.

But what do critics say? Thirteen of them reviewed the film, proving that there are too many people being paid to be critics.

"I think it's extremely charming and quirky, and it definitely has the heart at the right place," wrote Ronny Carlsson of FilmBizarro.

"I was concerned that Ghastly Love might be trying too hard to be the next The Rocky Horror Picture Show cult classic," wrote a reviewer at The Movie Gourmet, "but, not to worry, Ghastly Love definitely stands on its own."

Well apparently it didn't stand on its own enough to make any money ... yet ...

—By CNBC's Jane Wells; Follow her on Twitter: @janewells

  • Based in Los Angeles, Jane Wells is a CNBC business news reporter and also writes the Funny Business blog for CNBC.com.

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