In today's world, where the internet is all over a film (reporting on its cast, it's production schedule, its plot, its script changes and, in some cases, leaking photos and footage before the pic is even finished shooting), it's become increasingly harder for a movie to arrive out of the blue and transform into a surprise hit (or sleeper hit). As Bob Berney (President of Picturehouse) noted, "Everyone is talking about a film before they see it. That is a new phenomenon."
In a recent New York Times article, Stephen Farber analyzed a disappearing trend, the sleeper hit. According to Farber, "A real sleeper seems to come from nowhere: the audience shows up before the experts and insiders have figured it out." Perhaps the last true sleeper hit came with My Big Fat Greek Wedding, a film that thrived off old school word-of-mouth buzz racking up more than $241 million at the box office. I guess an argument could be made for this summer's Little Miss Sunshine, though movie websites (like Cinematical) were all over this one following its Sundance festival screening, that by the time Sunshine finally slipped into theaters, it was already wrapped up in a good amount of buzz. These days, is it even possible for a film to slide past us and go on to to gradually dominate the box office?
So, I ask you: In your opinion, is the sleeper hit dead? Or is its definition just changing?