- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 19, 2005

The conventional wisdom in Hollywood is that movies must “open big” or else sink like a stone. But every now and then, a movie, such as last year’s sleeper Christmas hit “The Polar Express,” can percolate like coffee.

Bonnie and Clyde — Warren Beatty’s bank-robbing duo flopped hard when they first hit the streets in August 1967. New York Times critic Bosley Crowther quaintly put it down for its ultra-violence. A gazillion-word paean from New Yorker critic Pauline Kael changed minds. Time magazine retracted its negative review and put stills of the movie — which would earn 10 Oscar nominations — on its cover.

It Happened One Night — No one expected big things from Frank Capra’s screwball comedy, but the movie slowly gathered steam and became the runaway hit of 1934, not to mention the progenitor of a genre.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding — The little movie that could opened on 108 screens and took in a paltry $600,000 its first weekend, but word of mouth transformed it into one of the biggest movies of 2002. The movie went on to gross $240 million worldwide.

Pulp Fiction — Quentin Tarantino’s paradigm-shifting feature for Miramax opened modestly (less than $10 million) and went on to gross an unprecedented (for indie movies) $108 million domestically.

There’s Something About Mary — Bobby and Peter Farrelly had to wait nine weeks before their now-beloved gross-out comedy reached No. 1 in the summer of 1998.

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