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Summer Indie Counter-Programming

Posted June 18, 2010 to photo album "Summer Indie Counter-Programming"

In anticipation of the release of Lisa Cholodenko’s The Kids Are All Right, Nick Dawson looks back at summer indie hits from years past.

Slide 1: Introduction
Slide 2: Kids
Slide 3: The Usual Suspects
Slide 4: Ulee's Gold
Slide 5: The Full Monty
Slide 6: The Blair Witch Project
Slide 7: Ghost World
Slide 8: Whale Rider
Slide 9: 28 Days Later
Slide 10: Swimming Pool
Slide 11: American Splendor
Slide 12: Napoleon Dynamite
Slide 13: Fahrenheit 9/11
Slide 14: Broken Flowers
Slide 15: Little Miss Sunshine
Slide 16: (500) Days of Summer
Slide 16: (500) Days of Summer

Slide 16: (500) Days of Summer

Release Date: July 17, 2009
Domestic Gross: $32,391,374
Programmed Against: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

On July 17, 2009, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince opened on over 4,000 screens, the sixth adaptation of the popular series of novels which finds Harry growing up and falling in love. On that same date, audiences were also falling for (500) Days of Summer, a very different take on growing older and falling in love. (500) Days of Summer, which marked the feature directorial debut of music video veteran Marc Webb, was shot without studio money and premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. The story is about the awkward love affair that develops between a couple of hip L.A. youngsters, a hopeless romantic (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and the adorable yet unsentimental girl (Zooey Deschanel) who works in his office. Notably, the film offset the cuteness of its lead actors by stressing its differentness, with its tagline “This Is Not A Love Story. This Is A Story About Love” and the curious use of parentheses in the title indicating that there was more complexity here than in your average twentysomething romcom. (Gordon-Levitt and Deschanel pushed the different nature of their romance by appearing in a viral web video as punk couple Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen.) After the movie became the standout indie title of the 2009 summer season by raking in $32 million at the box office, Webb was handpicked to direct Spider-Man 4, the reboot of the multi-billion dollar franchise.