Semantics

“So since The Hangover has now been crowned #1 for last weekend with a take of $44 million, don’t you think it’s time to retire its status as a sleeper hit?,” a publicist friend asks. “This is all semantics but hasn’t it entered the realm of a straight-up blockbuster? To me, the all-time sleeper hit is While You Were Sleeping, which in the spring of ’95, never took in over 11 million on any single weekend on its way to an $81 million cume. The Hangover is certainly a surprise hit, but I don’t think anyone has been sleeping on it for quite a while.”

  • Mark

    Agreed. Any Sleeper has to be a slow burn. You are never wowed by any one weekend gross, but when you look at the overall run, you say holy shit. In the modern era and excluding Oscar boosts, Something About Mary is the kingshit. Opened at No. 4 with $13 milliion, and was No. 1 in week 8 with $11 million. $176M total.

  • Josh Massey

    I think a big opener can be a sleeper hit, but it has to be a surprise big opener – Paul Blart and Taken would certainly qualify from this year. But people have been talking about The Hangover for MONTHS. It is most definitely not a “sleeper” anything.

    The all-timers, I would think, are Ghost and (as much as I loathe every frame) My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

  • actionman

    The first Scream is the textbook definition of the term “sleeper hit” being applied to a movie. Didn’t tht film gross like $8 million opening weekend, only to do $16 million in its second weekend? Or something like that…?

  • JeffK

    “Big Fat Greek” is the definitely the textbook sleeper. That film was in theaters for close to a year. More recently, I think Slumdog spent a good four months before it reached $100 mil. Hangover is no sleeper, although I was surprised how well it did considering how lukewarm the trailers for the film are, not to mention the R rating.

  • http://martiansattackingindianapolis.blogspot.com/ Josh Massey

    Because I’m bored at work…

    Scream did $6.4 million in its first week, $9.1 in its second, $10.0 in its third. Still outstanding, especially for a horror film.

    Greek Wedding‘s biggest weekend came it its 20th week – $14.8, one of only four $10+ frames. It closed with over $240.

    So I guess My Life In Ruins still has a shot…

  • http://martiansattackingindianapolis.blogspot.com/ Josh Massey

    “Week” = “weekend,” as far as Scream goes.

  • Geoff

    “Why do you want to know my name?”

    “Because I want to know who I’m looking at.”

    OMFG that was like soooo totally scary. Like totally.

  • Jay T.

    There’s Something About Mary never reached the top spot until something like it’s 10th week in theaters.

  • heybub1

    Similar but different. . . would Titanic be considered a sleeper “blockbuster”? I think its opening weekend was 29 million and except for occasional spurts (big take on Valentine’s Day ’97, I believe) never had a HUGE weekend — it just consistently hit 25 – 30 million every weekend. For, like, 6 months.

  • dangovich

    Titanic–41 weeks, opened 12/97 at $28.6 mil, peaked at $36 mil its 6th weekend, sagged a bit and then bumped back up to $33 mil five weeks later. Still had some spasms of life in April and May of ’98.

  • CitizenKanedforChewingGum

    I’m not really a box-office kinda guy at all.

    Buuuuut that Titanic run was pretty damn impressive. When’s the last time a movie was listed in the weekend BO champs — let alone at #1 — for an entire season?

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