Movies like The Godfather or Titanic or the very recent Avengers Endgame, which managed to attract audiences and make record earnings from the very beginning, are what we consider as blockbusters. But what exactly do we mean by cult films?
What is a cult classic?
Cult films are some films that have a small but loyal and dedicated fan following. This fan base slowly grows over time as the word spreads, and the film almost has a cult-like following of its own. With time, a cult film becomes a cult classic.
Cult films are not usually hugely popular movies that are instant hits, although there are certain successful movie franchises too that have a cult following, such as Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, or Harry Potter. In general, cult films are less popular among mainstream audiences initially.
These movies might have bombed at the box office after their release, with very few people even knowing about them. And yet, they are able to make their mark on a small audience, who can probably relate to the premise of the film or find the quality of the film extraordinary despite its failure.
How does a movie become a cult classic?
The main criterion for a film to become a cult classic is that the movie does not gain much popularity as mainstream cinema initially. That is how all cults work, after all. Many a times, these films are small budget productions with limited release. In some cases, these might be big-budget films too, that failed to sell at the box office after release.
These films were earlier telecast at late hours on television when some people would notice and maybe even like them. The very few that watch these movies spread the word, gradually making them unexpected successes.
While some cult classics are great movies that didn’t get the accolades they deserved, others were so bad that a small fan base started popularizing them just for the hilariously bad quality itself.