Every year, there are scores of under-the-radar movies that never manage to quite get the attention they're seeking. However, a lucky few always completely exceed expectations and blow both box-office numbers and critical expectations out of the water. These are the sleeper hits.
There were quite a few sleepers this year, but we’ve managed to compile a list of some of our personal favourites for you to check out. Many are now serious awards contenders, proving that you don’t need to be a massive blockbuster to gain attention from all the right people.
Check out our list of the best sleeper hits of 2017 below!
1. Girls Trip
This early summer release featured a stellar cast and a funny premise – four longtime girlfriends take a vacation together in New Orleans – but no one could have predicted how successful the film truly was. Raking in over $115 million domestically, Girls Trip proved that female-led films can be both funny and wildly successful at the box office. Definitely a win for Queen Latifah, Tiffany Haddish, Regina Hall, and Jada Pinkett Smith.
2. Get Out
Comedian Jordan Peele’s directorial debut has proved itself to be worthy of the “instant classic” moniker it’s been given time and again. This disturbing and often hilarious takedown of racism earned over $175 million domestically, becoming the kind of smash hit that most filmmakers can only dream about. Sparking a discourse that has led to university courses, think pieces, and more than a few memes, Get Out seemed to come fully formed out of nowhere – and cemented itself as one of the best of the year.
It’s no secret that horror has a huge following, but M. Night Shyamalan’s twisty little thriller about a man with multiple personalities did better than anyone could have predicted. Starring James McAvoy in an exceptional turn as Kevin, a man harbouring scores of varying personalities inside his head, Split showed that Shyamalan’s still got it. What started out as a movie with a cool concept and a strange trailer transformed into one of the biggest sleeper hits of the year. Good job, Split, you had us thoroughly creeped out.
Indie director Trey Edward Shults’ film It Comes at Night was undoubtedly one of the year’s most unsettling offerings. The series of excellent trailers gave very little away, but we could tell that there was something outside that Joel Edgerton did NOT want inside. The film ended up being more of a thriller than a straight-up horror, but the agonizing slow burn of watching the various characters descend into paranoia made it exceed any of our expectations. It made a tidy $14 million domestically on an estimated $5 million budget, which categorizes it as a definite success in our books.
Everyone knew Christopher Nolan’s World War 2 epic would be a success, but nobody quite anticipated the resounding critical praise and sky-high box office earnings. Critics were calling it the best of his career, and awards recognition seemed to be a no-brainer. Well, sure enough, awards season is here, and Dunkirk is nominated for 3 Golden Globes. We’re expecting it to pop up in numerous categories at the Oscars, too.
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