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15 Sundance Films That Could Be This Year's "Little Miss Sunshine"

Every year a handful of films get purchased at Sundance and head for release around the nation. But which movies have the potential to be breakout hits like that indie sensation of yore?

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1. "The Way, Way Back"

Via filmguide.sundance.org

Synopsis: Fourteen-year-old Duncan finds a mentor in his water park coworker.

Stars: Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Allison Janney, Sam Rockwell, Maya Rudolph, Liam James

Director: Nat Faxon, Jim Rash

Why it could be the next Little Miss Sunshine: The feel-good, wacky comedy invokes comparisons to '70s classics like Meatballs and Caddyshack.

Breakout odds: Even money

2. "Austenland"

Via filmguide.sundance.org

Synopsis: A Jane Austen fanatic takes an immersive Austen-themed vacation.

Stars: Keri Russell, Bret McKenzie, Jennifer Coolidge

Director: Jerusha Hess

Why it could be the next Little Miss Sunshine: From the coauthor of Napoleon Dynamite, this film teeming with hilarious actors has very mainstream comedy potential.

Breakout odds: 2 to 1

3. "The Spectacular Now"

Via filmguide.sundance.org

Synopsis: A popular high school senior becomes close with a misfit sci-fi fangirl after he is dumped by his girlfriend.

Stars: Miles Teller, Shailene Woodley, Brie Larson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Kyle Chandler

Director: James Ponsoldt

Why it could be the next Little Miss Sunshine: The engaging and delightful coming-of-age comedy features one of the most likable casts in ages.

Breakout odds: 4 to 1

4. "Fruitvale"

Via filmguide.sundance.org

Synopsis: The last day in the life of 22-year-old Oscar Grant, shot in the back by a BART police officer on New Year's Day 2009.

Stars: Michael B. Jordan, Octavia Spencer, Melonie Diaz

Director: Ryan Coogler

Reasons why it could be the next Little Miss Sunshine: The hugely lauded film won the festival's top prize and is the indie tearjerker of the year, even if its dark subject matter doesn't exactly make for the feel-good hit of the summer.

Breakout Odds: 5 to 1

5. "jOBS"

Via filmguide.sundance.org

Synopsis: The story of Apple founder Steve Jobs' ascent from his parents' garage to tech superstardom.

Stars: Ashton Kutcher, Dermot Mulroney

Director: Joshua Michael Stern

Why it could be the next Little Miss Sunshine: A star vehicle biopic of the nerd folk hero should generate lots of interest, even if the Ashton Kutcher take raises skepticism.

Breakout odds: 6 to 1

6. "Don Jon's Addiction"

Via filmguide.sundance.org

Synopsis: Young, sauve Jon Martello has no trouble with women; but he only finds satisfaction watching porn.

Stars: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Scarlett Johansson, Julianne Moore, Tony Danza

Director: Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Why it could be the next Little Miss Sunshine: Under the indie trappings, it's a broad sex comedy likely to appeal to young men, although the crude porn themes might turn off as many as they bring in.

Breakout Odds: 8 to 1

7. "Kill Your Darlings"

Via filmguide.sundance.org

Synopsis: The untold story of a love triangle and murder involving Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, and William S. Burroughs.

Stars: Daniel Radcliffe, Ben Foster, Michael C. Hall, Jack Huston, Dane DeHaan

Director: John Krokidas

Why it could be the next Little Miss Sunshine: Harry Potter in beat dress will attract interest.

Breakout odds: 10 to 1

8. "Prince Avalanche"

Synopsis: A coming-of-age comedy about two men who spend the summer repainting highway lines in a part of Texas ravaged by a wildfire.

Stars: Paul Rudd, Emile Hirsch

Director: David Gordon Green

Why it could be the next Little Miss Sunshine: Warm and heartfelt, if small, Prince Avalanche could become an indie comedy favorite.

Breakout odds: 10 to 1

9. "Two Mothers"

Via filmguide.sundance.org

Synopsis: Two best friends fall in love with each other's sons.

Stars: Naomi Watts, Robin Wright

Director: Anne Fontaine

Why it could be the next Little Miss Sunshine: Its provocative topic is sure to ignite interest.

Breakout odds: 10 to 1

10. "We Are What We Are"

Via filmguide.sundance.org

Synopsis: A horror story, adapted from the Mexican film of the same name, about a family of cannibals living in the Catskill Mountains.

Stars: Ambyr Childers, Julia Garner, Kelly McGillis, Bill Sage

Director: Jim Mickle

Why it could be the next Little Miss Sunshine: The dramatically rich horror story could prove a surprise critical sensation.

Breakout odds: 12 to 1

11. "Before Midnight"

Via filmguide.sundance.org

Synopsis: The third installment in director Richard Linklater's Before Sunrise series finds central couple Jesse and Celine grappling with middle age in Greece, 18 years after they first met.

Stars: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy

Director: Richard Linklater

Why it could be the next Little Miss Sunshine: The word "masterpiece" was being thrown around freely after its Sundance screening.

Breakout odds: 12 to 1

12. "Toy's House"

Via filmguide.sundance.org

Synopsis: Three adolescents build a house for themselves in the woods.

Stars: Megan Mullally, Alison Brie, Nick Robinson, Gabriel Basso, Moises Arias, Nick Offerman

Director: Jordan Vogt-Roberts

Why it could be the next Little Miss Sunshine: Packed with quirky comedy touchstones and familiar faces, the film is catnip to comedy nerds but may be a bit too much to swallow for others.

Breakout odds: 12 to 1

13. "Ain't Them Bodies Saints"

Via filmguide.sundance.org

Synopsis: An couple's crime spree is cut short when the husband is apprehended after a shoot-out with local law enforcement.

Stars: Rooney Mara, Casey Affleck, Ben Foster

DIrector: David Lowery

Why it could be the next Little Miss Sunshine: Red-hot young cast, including the girl with the dragon tattoo herself. This probably isn't enough, however, to overcome the Sundance catalog description: "The barren landscapes of David Lowery’s poetic feature evoke the mythology of westerns and saturate the dramatic space with fatalism."

Breakout odds: 15 to 1

14. "Lovelace"

Via filmguide.sundance.org

Synopsis: The story of the making of the first mainstream porn film, Deep Throat, and the meteoric rise of its star, Linda Lovelace.

Stars: Amanda Seyfried, Peter Sarsgaard, Hank Azaria, Adam Brody, James Franco, Sharon Stone

Director: Rob Epstein

Why it could be the next Little Miss Sunshine: The sensational subject could show Boogie Nights–like crossover appeal.

Breakout odds: 15 to 1

15. "Concussion"

Via filmguide.sundance.org

Synopsis: A wealthy lesbian suburban housewife embarks on a double life as a prostitute in Manhattan after she is hit in the head by a stray ball at her son's baseball game.

Stars: Robin Weigert

Director: Stacie Passon

Why it could be the next Little Miss Sunshine: The intense, intimate drama could touch some powerful cords; intense, intimate, low-budget drama, however, doesn't typically line them up at the multiplex.

Breakout odds: 50 to 1

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