If you’re wondering how tonight’s 9 Best Picture nominated films fared at the box office (so far) and if there really is such a thing as an Oscar bump, look no further.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is not always in sync with moviegoers and that’s not a bad thing, but they do want you to watch their awards ceremony, which is why a few years ago they went from just 5 Best Picture nominees a year to 8-10. That way there’s at least one or two movies you care about among them, or so they hope.
So far this year’s 9 made $656.5 million at the box office in the US, on average $72.9 million per film. That’s the lowest average in 5 years. Now of course we’ll be looking at more than a couple million coming in after tonight’s ceremony, so that average should go up, but probably not enough to make a difference. Also of the 9 only 3 have so far made over $100 million domestically and none of those came even close to $200 million.
But enough about that, let’s look at each of the 9 individually, see where they stand, where they might move and how much of a difference the Best Picture nod made for their box office.
9. Moonlight (nominated for 8 awards) – $22.3 million
Moonlight opened October 21st last year and made $15.9 million pre-nomination and another $6.4 million after that. Not a big gain and I don’t think Moonlight can go past $27 million (to climb to 8th), that is unless it somehow wins Best Picture tonight.
8. Hell or High Water (4) – $27 million
Hell or High Water unfortunately came out in August and has been gone from theaters for months now, so no Oscar bump here. It sucks that more people didn’t see this gem and whatever tonight’s outcome is Hell or High Water can’t move up.
7. Lion (6) – $42.8 million
If there’s one distributor that knows a thing or two about milking the Oscars it’s The Weinstein Company. Lion made only $16.5 million pre-nomination and $26.3 million in the month since. The drama actually re-entered the top 10 (in 10th) this weekend and among the rest of the Best Picture nominees only two more can claim the same thing. All in all Lion could potentially reach $50 million and climb to 6th.
6. Manchester by the Sea (6) – $46.9 million
Manchester by the Sea grossed $39 million pre-nomination and only $7.9 million after that. Not a big boost, but when all will be said and done Manchester by the Sea could have as much as $50 million, maybe enough to keep 6th place, maybe not.
5. Fences (4) – $56.5 million
Before being nominated for 4 awards the Denzel Washington directed and starring drama had made $48.8 million. Since then Fences added $7.7 million and it could grab a few more after tonight, but not enough to catch up to Hacksaw Ridge.
4. Hacksaw Ridge (6) – $67 million
Hacksaw Ridge is another title that was already fairly popular by the time the Academy announced its picks, turning in $65.5 million since its November 4th release. Post nomination Hacksaw Ridge only grabbed $1.5 million, probably because Lionsgate’s main horse in this race is clearly La La Land. Also most people that wanted to see it, awards or not, already saw it, so not that much of a bump here.
3. Arrival (8) – $100.3 million
Arrival on the other hand would not have made it to the century mark without its 8 nominations. The sci-fi had $95.7 million before the announcement and was optimistically looking at maybe another $1-2 million at most. Arrival instead made another $4.6 million, which as you can see was enough to get it past $100 million. That being said whatever happens tonight Arrival is pretty much done at the box office. Maybe it can take one more million, so definitely not moving from 3rd.
2. La La Land (14) – $140.9 million
Honestly you’d think 14 nominations would get you a bit more than $50.4 million (and of that probably only half is thanks to the Oscars), but I guess that’s what you can expect from a live-action musical today, regardless of how much praise it gets. Of course this is still a big hit and it would have been one without its 14 nods, after all La La Land did have $90.5 million pre-nomination. At the same time it feels like the film should have more than $140.9 million by now. So with that in mind I don’t think La La Land can catch up to Hidden Figures, even if it does win Best Picture tonight (which it obviously will). I could be wrong and next weekend should make things a lot clearer. For now La La Land finished the current weekend in 8th, again behind Hidden Figures (7th).
1. Hidden Figures (3) – $152.8 million
Despite having the least amount of nods, only 3, Hidden Figures is the top grossing Best Picture nominee going into this year’s Oscar ceremony. I feel like this one, similar to La La Land, would have been a hit regardless of the Oscars. Hidden Figures made $85 million pre-nomination and $67.8 million since then. On paper that might look like an Oscar bump, but looking at the film’s trajectory before and after, it really wasn’t (maybe $5-10 million can be attributed to the Best Picture nod). This one has had absolutely incredible legs at the box office, never dropping more than 27.2% between weekends. While La La Land might get a bigger bump next weekend, it probably won’t be enough to move Hidden Figures from the top spot.
Obviously the big favorite tonight is La La Land (a movie I’ve yet to see), but if the result was up to me I’d like to see either Hell or High Water or Arrival take home Best Picture. What’s your favorite for tonight?