- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 10, 2006

Late summer, the month of August in particular, is traditionally Hollywood’s dumping ground: Like postholiday January, it’s a release window for movies that have a) no prayer of competing with popcorn blockbusters, or b) no business in the company of year-end Oscar bait. But occasionally, as may happen with the delightful low-budget comedy “Little Miss Sunshine,” which opened in the District last week to enthusiastic reviews, late-summer movies start small and finish huge. There’s no secret to their success, but, lately, the participation of actor Steve Carell seems to help.

The Sixth Sense — In August 1999, M. Night Shyamalan’s masterpiece opened with a healthy $26.7 million box office and, powered by word-of-mouth raves, went on to gross a staggering $293.5 million in the U.S. alone. It also knocked from its box-office perch another creepy late-summer hit …

The Blair Witch Project — With a budget of less than $100,000, no one expected much of this digital video production when it was released in a smattering of theaters in mid-July 1999. But after this Little Horror Flick That Could crossed the $100 million mark, the industry was abuzz with talk of a new era of indie filmmaking exploiting the untapped marketing potential of the Internet.

There’s Something About Mary — The Farrelly brothers’ sweet-and-sleazy romantic comedy (1998) looked like a dud with its measly opening-weekend take of $13.7 million. But it burned up the box office for the remainder of the summer, eventually earning $140.4 million domestically and another $108 million abroad.

The 40 Year-Old Virgin — This one was, of course, Mr. Carell’s triumph of last August, which surprised nearly everyone with its $100 million-plus domestic gross.

Rush Hour 2 — Sure, the first installment of this action-comedy franchise, 1998’s “Rush Hour,” was a success. But who knew Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker could notch an even bigger hit with this 2001 sequel? To date, its opening-weekend take of $67.4 million is an August record. “Rush Hour 3” is expected next year in — you guessed it — August.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times is switching its third-party commenting system from Disqus to Spot.IM. You will need to either create an account with Spot.im or if you wish to use your Disqus account look under the Conversation for the link "Have a Disqus Account?". Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide