Last weekend may have produced more revenue at the box office than any previous weekend in February, but none of the recent Oscar-nominated movies shared in the windfall. While Friday the 13th was earning $45.2 million, Oscar-nominated Frost/Nixon was taking in only $473,000. In 11 weeks it has earned just $16.3 million, 36 percent of what Friday earned in four days. Likewise Milk has earned a total of $26.7 million and The Reader, $19.4 million. (The Reader appears to be the only film to have experienced "the Oscar bump" -- doubling its gross since it was nominated.) Daily Variety commented today (Tuesday) that "the cachet of a nomination isn't a fool-proof guarantee" of more business. And Los Angeles Times media columnist Patrick Goldstein concluded, "It's time for filmmakers to grasp the new reality: The Oscars have become a hollow brass ring."First of all, some of these movies have been in theaters since November or December. It's the middle of February right now...chances are if someone has not seen it yet, they probably are waiting until it comes out on Netflix so that they don't have to deal with someone's cell phone light getting in the way of their eye line.
Furthermore, let's look at another issue here. What the crap is this with an Oscar bump and The Reader. I'm no idiot but the Oscar nominations were announced on January 22, 2009, so it's been about three weeks or so for movies to bring in further revenue.
Here is the current box office for the five nominees for best picture:
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button: $122,545,000
Leading up to the nomination, it brought in up to $104,388,850 from 2,988 theaters, accounting to 85.2% of the gross.
Slumdog Millionaire: $88,121,000
Leading up to it's nomination, it brought in $44,711,799 from 614 theaters, accounting for 50.7% of the gross. Going wide on the Friday after the nomination, it went on to make an additional $43,409,201 (49.3% of current gross) from up to 1,724 theaters. Here's what I don't get--the WENN report on IMDB says The Reader is the only movie to have doubled its gross since the nominations. Slumdog just about did double it's gross since the nominations...and with more money at the box office!
Milk brought in 77.3% of its revenue before the nominations with $20,655,400 from 356 theaters. After the nominations and going slightly wide with 882 theaters on January 30th, it's brought in $6,061,600, accounting for 22.7% of the gross.
The Reader: $19,456,000
Playing at a maxium of 507 theaters (it lost 90 in the week leading to the nominations, this movie brought in $8,061,881 sine it's December 10th opening. Since the nominations went out (and going wide on January 30th), it brought in $11,394,119, which accounts for 58.6% of the box office gross. That said, it only played in 1,002 theaters for one full week starting January 30th so it's already starting to decrease in box office earnings by week at this point. Slumdog at it's widest brought in more revenue.
Playing in a maxium of 205 theaters before the nominations were announced, it brought in $8,888,701, only accounting for 53.8% of the gross. Since then, it's made $7,624,299, accounting for 46.2%, from a maximum of 1,105 theaters although it's since decreased to showing in under 500 theaters. Chances are, if you have yet to see this, just wait for the DVD.