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U.S. Box Office: $2.5 million
Worldwide Box Office: $6.4 million
Est. Budget: $8 million
Lowdown: "Sparks" is the text book reason some mini-majors like to limit their own development as much as possible. Discovering a movie at a festival or picking it up after its completed production gives the studio the confidence they actually have a film that can succeed based on its price. When you are spending your own money, it can get dicey. For Searchlight, the combination of "Little Miss Sunshine" directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris along with Zoe Kazan's buzzed about screenplay seemed like a sure bet. That was until executive producer Paul Dano became the lead killing any of the picture's commercial prospects - even at an art house level.
- Gregory Ellwood