6 Weird Films That Have Been #1 at the Box Office in 2020

2020 has been one hell of a year, and we’re only halfway through it. One of the smallest but strangest shifts this year has been watching the box office react to the COVID-19 crisis. With theaters shuttered for months, major releases heading to streaming, and drive-ins sustaining the theatrical experience, the very way we think about the box office has changed dramatically. In turn, we’ve had an unprecedented selection of box office number ones this year, which we’re highlighting here!

A woman leans against a colored window in Swallow.



Box office intake: $33,419

No. 1 on: April 10

In the first hint that something strange would be happening in the wake of COVID-19 shuttering cinemas, Swallow became the number one movie in the country thanks to one drive-in theater in Florida. The atmospheric chiller centers on Haley Bennett’s lonely housewife who comes to find solace in swallowing household objects. A film that barely would have registered on the box office scales in any other year took the number one spot in a weirdly wonderful turn of events.

A boy stares at a deer skull in The Wretched.

IFC Midnight

The Wretched

Box office intake: $1,551,047

No. 1 from: May 1 – June 9, June 11

IFC Midnight has long been providing viewers with interesting and twisted little horror movies. But during the pandemic they’ve also been taking advantage of the unexpected situation. IFC’s second #1 movie this year was The Wretched, which stayed in the top spot for over a month thanks to its wide expansion in drive-ins. The film follows a young boy who moves into a new house only to discover that a shape-shifting witch lives next door. It proved the perfect popcorn movie for viewers desperate to hit the drive-in this past May.

Six people look scared while chatting over Zoom.

Christian Nilsson and Eric Tabach


Box office intake: $68,183

No. 1 on: June 10

This entry comes with a very big asterisk but we have to mention this top tier scam. Taking advantage of the current climate, filmmakers Christian Nilsson and Eric Tabach decided to make a 29-minute haunted horror movie filmed exclusively on Zoom and then shoot it to the top of the charts simply by buying out an empty theatre. Sure, it was only the two of them who actually watched it, but it did get them to that coveted number one spot.

A girl has blood all over her face in Becky.

Quiver Distribution


Box office intake: $657,320

No. 1 from: June 12 – 14

Lulu Wilson took on Kevin James’ neo-Nazi in this gruesome little home invasion horror which took the top spot for new releases when it hit drive-ins in June. Scary, violent, and entertaining in equal measure, Wilson is brilliant as the young girl who has to take down the white supremacists who invade her weekend away with her dad. It’s rare to see a solid B-movie like this deliver at a box office usually saturated with superheroes, but in 2020 it happened!

A hand print appears on the door of a woman's shower in The Invisible Man.

Blumhouse, Universal

The Invisible Man

Box office intake: $64,914,050

No. 1 on: June 15

You might be reading this and saying, “What are you talking about?” given that The Invisible Man was one of the box office’s last truly big smashes before the global pandemic. But we’re not talking about The Invisible Man being number one in February or even March. Thanks to the cursed year of 2020, the awesome horror flick took the top spot once again in June.

A scientist holds a flare up to see a Tyrannosaurus Rex in Jurassic Park.


Jurassic Park

Box office intake:  $1.032 billion… total ($517,000 to get to number one in 2020)

No. 1 from: June 19 – 21

The latest movie to return to screens while hitting the top spot is Jurassic Park. Thanks to Universal releasing a series of their classic movies in drive-ins and newly opened theaters to hopefully restart the box office boom, Steven Spielberg’s stunning dinosaur disaster movie is back where it belongs: number one! In an incredible twist of fate, Jurassic Park barely beat out Jaws for the number one spot.

While it’s unclear how long this trend will last with many theaters reopening and new movies like Mulan and Tenet set to hit screens soon, we’re big fans of the unexpected box office shift!

Featured Image: IFC

Top Stories
More by Rosie Knight
Trending Topics