Saturday, May 2, 2009

What Will Be Summer '09's Surprise Hit (U.S. Domestic)?

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 a 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 a movie that makes $150 million+ a hit, then, will any of the "untouted" movies make this number?

Last year's sleeper was Sex and the City, which grossed $152.6 million domestically; following right behind on the summer movie sleeper-meter was Mamma Mia!, which grossed $144.1 million. Neither was an outright blockbuster (i.e. $200 million+, but both were certainly unexpected hits).

My guess last year was hopelessly off the mark (Star Wars: Clone Wars which grossed $35.1 million). Rather than offering another poor prediction, I'll just list the ones to follow, below (if forced I might go with The Hangover as my prediction for this year's summer sleeper-- did I just doom it!?).

Surprise hit "contenders" include:

• Drag Me to Hell: Sam Raimi is back in the horror genre after his Spider-Man tenure.

• Management: Anything with Jennifer Aniston these days seems to have hit potential.

• My Sister's Keeper: Now this would be a surprise, but semtimental somethimes hits big.

• The Proposal: The Sandra Bullock/Ryan Reynolds (/Betty White!) flick has gotten alot of exposure trailer-wise.

• The Hangover: Old School's Todd Phillips might have the comedy touch in a season light on straight comedies.

• (500) Days of Summer: Wouldn't exactly be a "surprise" hit as it's already getting buzz.

• G-Force: Ever since the Chipmunks, anything goes with cute rodents.

• I Love You, Beth Cooper: Looks appealing.

• They Came From Upstairs: I dunno, it's been a long time since we've had a E.T./Gremlins experience-- could this be it?

• Julie & Julia: The mighty Meryl is back after her one-two summer movie punch of last year.

• The Time Traveller's Wife: Against it, it comes out in mid-August; for it-- the kids are back in school two weeks later.

• District 9: Alien invasion and summer movies go hand-in-hand.

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