Indie films usually aren't as flashy as big Hollywood productions, but their small budgets mean that big hits are hugely profitable. It also doesn't hurt that they tend to be award magnets. Check out these ten indies, which brought in major bucks across the globe.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) - $213.5 Million Worldwide
Ang Lee's knack for storytelling partnered perfectly with Yuen Wo Ping's choreography. The Chinese martial arts film transcended genres appealing to audiences around the world, and in the U.S., it became the highest-grossing foreign language film of all time.
Pulp Fiction (1994) - $213.9 Million Worldwide
With a packed cast and inventive story Pulp Fiction should have a vault full of awards. Except, it kept running into Forrest Gump. This lead Tarantino to say at the MTV Awards, “Pop quiz, hot shot! What do you do when you’ve been going to award show after award show all year long, and keep losing to Forrest Gump? You go to the MTV Movie Awards!”
Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004) - $222.4 Million Worldwide
Michael Moore's controversial documentary took the Republicans and corporate media to task on its way to becoming the highest-grossing documentary of all time. While receiving heavy criticism for alleged false claims from critics, Moore defended his sources to the bitter end. It won the Palme d'Or at Cannes.
Good Will Hunting (1998) - $225.9 Million Worldwide
Juno (2007) - $231.4 Million Worldwide
Diablo Cody's writing debut won her the Best Original Screenplay prize that year. Packed with a hilarious cast the teen pregnancy centered romantic comedy resonated with fans of all ages. Initially debuting on only seven screens, the film went on to become Fox Searchlight's first $100 million film.
The Blair Witch Project (1999) - $248.6 Million Worldwide
Starting the motion sickness, found footage style of horror, The Blair Witch Project was the surprise hit of 1999. The film also was one of the first films to use the viral marketing the Internet provided to generate interest. It worked so well that some people refused to believe the film wasn't true.
Shakespeare in Love (1998) - $289.3 Million Worldwide
This 1998 Best Picture winner cleaned up at the Oscars. The quasi-reality romantic comedy won Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress for Gwyneth Paltrow and Dame Judi Dench. Still, some took exception to the film's gross inaccuracies.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002) - $368.7 Million Worldwide
Nia Vardalos' dual writing-starring role paid off with this indie comedy darling. Not only was it the fifth-highest grossing film of 2002, it also became the highest-grossing romantic comedy of all time. Not bad for a film with a $5 million budget.
Slumdog Millionaire (2008) - $377.9 Million Worldwide
The Passion of the Christ (2004) - $611.9 Million Worldwide
Mel Gibson's depiction of Jesus' last 12 hours generated interest from the religious base around the world. Because of that, it's pulled in almost double the amount the second closest indie made at the box office. While profitable, critics and religious officials offered mixed reviews due to extreme violence and non-biblical material that influenced the story.