Tuesday, 10 August 2010

The Top Ten Sleeper Hits – Ten Unexpected Movie Successes (Guest Post)

A sleeper hit is the movie that was not expected to be a success but still blew you away.  The motion picture that had hardly any promotion; the one that you did not realise had been released.  The movie that as time went on anyone who was anyone had been to see, or at the very least had rented it.  It is the movie that relied on word of mouth praise and will at some point be referred to as a classic.

There are many sleeper hits out there.  Some are big budget sleepers such as Titanic and Shark Tale, while some are cult films that were massive box office flops such as The Shawshank Redemption.  In fact in monetary terms the box office revenue is often much larger than the initial budget and in many ways sleeper hits are often deemed the biggest successes in the industry.

The following movies are often featured as the top ten sleeper hits of all time.  These movies are all very different and yet they have all managed to smash box office expectations and become categorised as sleepers.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000).

The success of this movie was based on the fact that it was completely different from any other movies around at the time.  The actors were virtually unknown in the Hollywood circuit and the movie was subtitled.  Ultimately it was not a typical Kung-Fu movie as it was the captivating story that held it together and not simply an overload of fight scenes.

Diary of a Mad Black Woman (2005)

This story was one that many would be able to relate to in some part, and the director, Tyler Perry, although an unknown in the movie world at the time of release was a successful playwright and actor with an already solid fan base.

Slumdog Millionaire (2008)

This is essentially another foreign movie starring virtually unknown actors with a captivating plotline.  It is a love story, a tragedy, and with the feel good factor thrown in for good measure. It also highlighted issues that had not really been tackled before.  This movie was nearly rejected – thank goodness it wasn’t.

March of the Penguins (2005)

This movie is technically a documentary and was in some part the inspiration and precursor to the children’s movie Happy Feet.  There was just something magical and captivating about how brave the penguins were on their annual march.  Very slowly its popularity grew and it later won an Oscar.

Reservoir Dogs (1992)

This movie is so successful due to the story unfolding in a series of flashbacks, which leaves the audience captivated from the very beginning.  It feels like you are inside Quentin Tarantino’s very vivid imagination throughout the entire picture.

Juno (2007)

This movie’s success is based on its honesty.  It does not glamorise, nor does it condemn.  The movie adopts a fresh approach to such issues and Juno’s deeper message is that while mistakes can happen they do not have to ruin your life forever. 

Saw (2004)

It was this move’s attention to detail, clever twists and unashamed gore that enabled it to become a success.  Not for a long time had a psychological thriller entwined itself in vulgarity to this extent and the shock factor was what made it a success.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002)

Produced by Tom Hanks and his wife, this film was originally a stage show.  Hence the story line already had a solid fan base and the ethnic twist gave this rom-com a likeable flavour.

Napoleon Dynamite (2004)

This ‘Geek Comedy’ had a very simple storyline and Napoleon’s life was easy to relate to.  This cult picture was picked up by certain audiences and the movie was loved to the extent that t-shirts were made up by them and used to aid the promotion of the film.

The Blair Witch Project (1999)

The success of this movie comes purely from the mystery and uncertainty around it.  Is it true, is it an elaborate hoax – even now no one can honestly say they know for sure.  The cinema companies got involved with channelling the uncertainty and the buzz surrounding the film was like something that had never been seen before.

There are of course many other sleeper hits.  If you are interested in seeing what all the fuss was about then get online and check out online DVD shops such as www.play.com or Zavvi. Discount codes can often be found by typing ‘Zavvi Discount Vouchers into your search engine. 

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