Nicole Sperling
September 17, 2008 AT 03:47 PM EDT

How is it possible that Matthew McConaughey just starred in a movie about a pot-smoking wave rider — called Surfer, Dude no less — and no one knew about it? Two weeks ago, Dude bowed in an Austin theater to a dismal $6,000 before expanding to 69 screens, including a bunch of seaside locales. Its total gross at press time: $36,497.

What happened? Seems Dude was little more than a $6 million passion project for the actor, and even the promise of his shirtless surfing couldn’t entice studios to release it — especially since we all see the same thing on the Internet every day. So he turned to Anchor Bay, a direct-to-DVD company that gave it a limited theatrical run with no TV ads to support it. (The DVD will follow in December.) That was probably a good idea: Dude‘s Metacritic score is a depressing 16 out of 100, which proves that no amount of pecs appeal could have saved this wipeout.

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