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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 5: The Full Monty

Slide 5: The Full Monty

Release Date: August 15, 1997
Domestic Gross: $45,950,122
Programmed Against: Event Horizon

In August 1997, two very different films from British directors opened on the same day in the United States. On the one hand, Paul W.S. Anderson’s sci-fi horror blockbuster Event Horizon provided a big popcorn film, while Peter Cattaneo’s working-class feel-good story The Full Monty kept its British roots intact. Set in 1972, the film told the story of six unemployed steel workers in the depressed industrial city of Sheffield who decide to make a little money on the side as male strippers. Their gimmick is that, unlike the famous Chippendales dancers, they will get completely naked – or do “the Full Monty.” Cattaneo’s movie infused his stark picture of Northern gloom with a cheeky charm and tenacious optimism, with the characters – led by Robert Carlyle’s Gaz – refusing to be defeated by the bad breaks they’ve received in life. Salon’s Laura Miller noted how tasty this cinematic treat was at the time: “With no chewy, ambitious themes, no movie-star charisma or auteur flourishes, The Full Monty is the kind of movie that critics underestimate and audiences love.” Indeed, this underdog’s tale was irresistible both to audiences as well as critics, and it was nominated for four Oscars, including Best Picture. The Full Monty defied the odds to massively outperform Event Horizon, racking up $45 million in U.S. ticket sales to Event Horizon’s $26 million.