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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 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.