Forget Barbie, forget Oppenheimer. One Man Show: The Movie (stylized as ONEMANSHOW: The Movie) debuted in Czech cinemas this past weekend to the tune of a whopping 54.2 million crowns (about $2.45 million) from over 290,000 spectators.
It’s the highest weekend tally of all time for a Czech film, and the second-highest overall, after only Avengers: Endgame, which took in 58.5 million crowns ($2.65 million) upon its debut in 2019. For reference, Barbie, the Czech Republic’s highest-grossing film of 2023 (for now) took in just one-third of One Man Show‘s opening weekend tally (18.9 million crowns, or about $860,000) when it opened in July.
One Man Show: The Movie is the debut feature from Czech internet personality Kamil Bartošek, alias Kazma Kazmitch, who has been producing and starring in the online series One Man Show on Stream.cz since 2008. He’s become one of the Czech Republic’s most notorious pranksters during the production of the series.
Kazma’s successful stunts have included putting a fake Jim Carrey on the stage of the Czech Lion Awards, infiltrating the 2016 Hockey World Championships in Moscow with an obnoxious American fan, and getting a phony contestant on the reality series Prostřeno, the Czech Republic’s version of the UK’s Come Dine With Me.
One Man Show: The Movie purportedly tells the story of Kazma’a latest stunt, the secret production of a fake war movie starring some of the Czech Republic’s top actors. It opened to tepid reviews from both critics and fans, and sits around 50% on ČSFD.cz, the country’s version of IMDb.
Of course, the film itself is another Kazma stunt, the extent of which is currently unknown. But it’s also a genius bit of marketing: one lucky spectator to the film could win a prize sum of one million U.S. dollars (about 22 million crowns), one of the largest giveaways to the history of the Czech Republic. The million dollars, in individual one-dollar bills, is currently housed under at Prague’s Congress Center under the watch of armed guards.
According to the production, the film contains hints at how to retrieve the million dollars, which include unlocking a cipher contained in a giant concrete monument that has mysteriously appeared near Lysá nad Labem. Additionally, every ticket sold comes with a key card, one of which will be able to open the safe that houses the cash without needing to crack the code.
“When making this film, I wanted it to be more than just a passive experience. I want the audience to get involved, think and become part of the story,” Kazma told journalists at a press conference ahead of the opening of the movie.
Posters and advertising for One Man Show: The Movie predominantly highlight the million-dollar giveaway. Regardless of the quality of the film itself, Kazma’s Willy Wonka-style stunt has resulted in a runaway success at the box office.
With clues to winning a million dollars contained within the film itself, literally incentivizing repeat viewings, One Man Show: The Movie could be on its way to becoming the Czech Republic’s highest-grossing film of all time.