15 unexpected summer movie hits
Plus: 'Bring it On,' 'The Karate Kid,' 'Babe' and more
Release Date: August 21, 1987
Box Office: $63.4 million (original release)
Why: Released during the dog days of summer in 1987, this low-budget film from upstart film distributor Vestron Pictures boasted no major stars and yet somehow became a word-of-mouth phenomenon, with many fans making repeat trips to the theater. The film did even bigger business internationally, with a total worldwide gross of over $200 million. Not exactly what you would call a critical success (at least not in its day), "Dirty Dancing" became a true-blue populist success story on the strength of Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze's sizzling chemistry and a host of uber-catchy original (and, in the case of "The Time of My Life," Oscar-winning) tunes.
- Chris Eggertsen