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Summer popcorn season is synonymous with big budget blockbusters, so it’s especially fun to see an underdog go head to head with superheroes, massive monsters, or iconic characters and still come out victorious.
Surprise hits aren’t just exciting for audiences, though. They also send a signal to the entertainment industry that studios and filmmakers can bet big on fresh material and see it pay off.
“These films offer proof that Hollywood can still deliver originality and that audiences will often respond enthusiastically to the unexpected cinematic treat that no one saw coming,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior box office analyst at comScore. “Some of the most notable movies of all-time have been films that prior to their release flew under the radar and then suddenly became massive hits and part of the cultural conversation and resonated within the zeitgeist.”
While we know that tentpoles including “The Incredibles 2,” “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” “Sicario: Day of the Soldado,” and “Ant-Man and the Wasp” will likely ignite the summer box office, here are eight movies that could become breakouts:
— June 8
Ari Aster’s bone-chilling horror movie starring Toni Collette scared up rave reviews after debuting in the Midnight lineup at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. If the trailer is any indication, “” looks to be one of the most genuinely terrifying movies of the year. Variety’s chief film critic Owen Gleiberman , writing, “Unlike almost every mainstream horror film you see these days, [it] has the substance to match its scares.” The film, which follows a family that begins to be haunted following the death of their reclusive grandmother, arrives at the perfect time for audiences’ heart rates to recover after “A Quiet Place” in April. Thanks to “A Quiet Place,” “It,” “Split,” and “Get Out,” the genre has amassed over $1 billion in the past year, but the last few horror movies to hit the box office didn’t quite hit the mark. “Hereditary” will remind audiences why they love to be scared.
— June 29
Is “” just an elaborate Pepsi commercial? Who’s to say? Regardless, Kyrie Irving’s character from his 2012 Pepsi Max ads is hitting the big screen, and he’s bringing a slew of former NBA stars with him, including Shaquille O’Neal, Chris Webber, Reggie Miller, and Nate Robinson.” Get Out” breakout Lil Rel Howery, the ever-charming Tiffany Haddish, and Nick Kroll also star. The sports comedy has an engaging premise, an entertaining trailer, an ideal release date, and a solid cast — all prime components for a summer hit.
Crazy Rich Asians — Aug. 15
The internet went wild when Warner Bros. dropped the first trailer for “Crazy Rich Asians,” the romantic comedy based on Kevin Kwan’s best-selling novel. As the first major studio film since 1993’s “The Joy Luck Club” to feature a primarily Asian cast, it’s clear audiences are ready to celebrate a rom-com that’s reflective of 2018. Directed by Jon M. Chu, “Crazy Rich Asians” follows Constance Wu’s Rachel Chu, who goes to Singapore with her longtime boyfriend (Henry Golding) and finds out his family is not just rich but, you know, crazy rich. Plus, its mid-August debut gives some breathing room after a clutch of tentpoles, when the box office will be hungry for a hit.