I always get annoyed when I see in print: such and such a film is destined to be this year's sleeper hit. Because, by definition, a "sleeper" is hit that's a surprise! If you see it coming, it's not a surprise. But just like predicting box office grosses, "guessing" what will be a sleeper is different if everyone expects a movie will do little business, but you just have a gut feeling it might be a hit. So, if we call $200 million a hit, then, will any of the "untouted" movies make this number?
For me, and I know no one is behind me on this, I think the surprise hit will be Star Wars: Clone Wars. And although I put $175 million on my summer movie predix I'll stick with this movie for my $200 million surprise hit pick— no guts, no glory.
Other surprise hit "contenders" include:
• Sex and the City: After all, Baby Mama has done very well. And although I don't know a single dude who will see this movie, everyone knows it's coming out, so exposure level is at complete saturation.
• Speed Racer: It's hard to call a movie that's got this much publicity behind it a possible "surprise" hit, except there is universal consensus that it will (a) suck (b) tank.
• The Foot Fist Way: Has that indie buzz.
• Wanted: In it's favor is its advance publicity, although haven't seen much lately-- they need to ramp it back up.
• The Happening: If it's good it still won't do the huge numbers of Shyamalan's past films, but what if it's great?
• Get Smart: Seems to have wide appeal.
• The Love Guru: I agree, no way, but it's possible.
• You Don't Mess With the Zohan: Good trailer.
• The X-Files: In its favor: everyone's heard of it.
• Kit Kittredge: An American Girl: (Little) girl power.
• Step Brothers: Ferrell and Reilly combo always has potential.
• Mamma Mia!: I can't imagine it: it just looks miserably bad, but again, everyone knows it in a sense.
• Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D: Could look really cool.
• Meet Dave: Eddie Murphy is not out of the game yet.
• Hellboy II: The Golden Army: The first film was a minor surprise hit.
• American Teen: Some buzz on this film.
• Space Chimps: I really doubt it, but could be just entertaining enough to be a "popcorn" guilty pleasure.
• Pineapple Express: Definite possibilities: borderline to call the success of this movie a "surprise"-- but not many are predicting $200 million, so I guess it counts.
• Tropic Thunder: On Entertainment Weekly's top ten, but with a $142.6 million prediction, so as with Pineapple, still counts as a "surprise" if it goes over $200 million.
• Vicky Cristina Barcelona: I put this down as a joke: but can you imagine if a Woody Allen film made $200 million???!!!
• Star Wars: Clone Wars: Again, my theory: the live action films aren't just hits-- they're among the biggest money-makers of all time.
• Choke: Could be really good and gain an audience.