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28 Days Later
Release Date: June 27, 2003
Box Office: $45 million
Why: Danny Boyle seemed to be unstoppable with his first few films, and both "Shallow Grave" and "Trainspotting" are still great fun. But with "The Beach" and "A Life Less Ordinary," he went off the rails and seemed to be floundering. No one could have predicted that a small English zombie film would kick off a franchise and do the box-office business it did, but when Fox Searchlight saw the film, they knew exactly how to get people in the door. It may seem like an obvious idea now, but putting the first nine minutes of your film online was a bold and, some said, rash idea when they tried it. That opening is so strong that people immediately had to go see the rest of the movie theatrically, and that technique is still being used now. So when you see six minutes of "The Amazing Spider-Man" in front of "Men In Black 3" this weekend, you can thank "28 Days Later" for that.
- Drew McWeeny