21 Sundance hits that tanked at the box office


Image Credit: Everett Collection

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Girlfight (2000)

Karyn Kusama’s bold directorial debut caused a sensation in Park City, quickly becoming the It movie of the 2000 fest. A four-day bidding war ended with Screen Gems scooping up the film for around $3 million. And at the end of the fest, the film, starring future Lost-girl Michelle Rodriguez as a teenage boxer, won the Grand Jury prize, while Kusama went home with a directing award. Though it made a name for both Rodriguez and Kusama, Girlfight ended up packing a relatively weak punch at the box office: $1.6 million. —MS


Image Credit: Everett Collection

Happy Texas (1999)

For years, this comedy about two heterosexual escaped cons (Steve Zahn and Jeremy Northam) who pretend to be gay beauty-pageant judges was the gold standard in what were they thinking?! Sundance deals. The goofy crowd-pleaser generated boatloads of buzz and earned Zahn a special jury prize. So surely Harvey Weinstein made a brilliant move in forking over $10 million, right? Ha! It barely eked out $2 million at the box office. —MS


Image Credit: Everett Collection

Slam (1998)

This gritty drama about a Washington, D.C., slam-poet (Saul Williams) who ends up in prison on a drug charge won the Grand Jury prize and loads of acclaim for director Marc Levin. Trimark Pictures snatched up the movie for $2.5 million, and the press seemed convinced that Levin was the Next Big Thing in filmmaking. When the film grossed $982,214, they changed their minds. —MS


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