21 Sundance hits that tanked at the box office

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Image Credit: Jim Bridges

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Rocket Science (2007)

Rocket Science didn’t come to Sundance 2007 looking for a hot distribution deal. It already had one, courtesy of Picturehouse. What it needed was buzz. And buzz it got. Crowds gobbled up the quirky tale of a high school student who overcomes his stutter by joining the debate team. Jeffrey Blitz (of the wonderful documentary Spellbound) got a Directing Award. And Rocket seemed like just the kind of cutesy Sundance indie that could jump right into the mainstream with a little word-of-mouth. But come release time, no one cared. Rocket crashed and burned at $714,943. —MS

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Image Credit: Daniel Smith

Introducing the Dwights (2007)

Still not convinced that 2007 was a banner year for bullish over-paying? Allow us to present Introducing the Dwights, an Aussie romance starring Brenda Blethyn that went to Warner Independent for $4 million. Originally called Clubland, the studio renamed it for its U.S. release that summer. But apparently, moviegoers found the new title every bit as compelling as the original. Grosses maxed out at $379,408. —MS

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Image Credit: Jojo Whilden

Joshua (2007)

Yep, even Fox Searchlight president Peter Rice, who oversaw the stunning success of Little Miss Sunshine, made a big boo-boo in 2007 when he handed over $3.7 million for Joshua, a creepy-kid thriller starring Sam Rockwell and Vera Farmiga. Released that summer, Joshua only managed to scare $482,355 worth of people. —MS

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