Heard on CultureShift

Michigan-Made Horror Movie “The Wretched” Is #1 at U.S. Box Office

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Image credit: Courtesy of IFC Midnight

Since being released in drive-in theaters across the country starting on May 1st, the scrappy indie flick has topped the box office for four consecutive weeks — and is eyeing a fifth straight week as it arrives in Michigan.

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A chilling indie thriller filmed in Michigan’s Leelanau Peninsula is currently the #1 movie in the country, according to Box Office Mojo.

The Wretched,” which currently has a 74% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, was written and directed by Brett and Drew Pierce. The film follows a defiant teenage boy struggling with his parent’s imminent divorce as he faces off with an old witch who has possessed the neighbor next door.


Listen: The full story behind the filming of “The Wretched” from Michigan’s own Pierce Brothers.


The Pierce Brothers on the set of their movie "The Wretched," which was filmed in Northport and Omena on Michigan's Leelenau Peninsula.Courtesy of IFC Midnight
Courtesy of IFC Midnight

The Pierce Brothers on the set of their movie “The Wretched,” which was filmed in Northport and Omena on Michigan’s Leelenau Peninsula.

Growing up near 6 Mile and Grand River on Detroit’s westside, the brothers were introduced to horror movies at an early age. Their father, Bart Pierce, helped create the special effects for “The Evil Dead” — an iconic horror film directed by Michigan native Sam Raimi in 1981.

When we were little, he invited the whole crew to my mom’s house in Detroit,” says Brett Pierce. “We grew up around horror and seeing independent film being produced in our basement.”

Since its May 1st release, the success of this scrappy indie flick is a reflection of how the entertainment industry is evolving during COVID-19.

Expanding to at least 60 drive-in theaters starting this weekend — including the Capri Drive-In Theater in Coldwater, Michigan — and available via video-on-demand, “The Wretched” has grossed $660,000 to date, a drop in the bucket for what normally dictates a #1 box office movie (the highest-grossing movie of 2020 so far is “Bad Boy For Life,” which has grossed more than $440 million worldwide).

Despite the lack of revenue and widespread ability to see the picture in person, “The Wretched” is currently heading for five straight weeks as the #1 movie in the country.

We got really good reviews and great responses from audiences, but at the end of the day, we couldn’t anticipate it,” says Brett Pierce, calling it the “ultimate silver lining.”

The film was scheduled to screen this weekend at the Ford-Wyoming Drive-In Theater in Dearborn, but the outdoor movie theater was served a cease-and-desist order by law enforcement, according to a Facebook post from the Ford-Wyoming.


Watch the official trailer for “The Wretched”:


Ryan Patrick Hooper, Host, CultureShift

Ryan Patrick Hooper is the host and producer of CultureShift. As a longtime arts and culture reporter.

hooper@wdet.org Follow @HooperRadio

LaToya Cross, Producer, CultureShift

LaToya Cross is a Producer with CultureShift, where she produces in-depth content that spotlights creatives and individuals using their platform to examine, cultivate, shape and shift culture.

Latoya.cross@wdet.org Follow @ToizStory

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