It has been a long-held Hollywood given that a Best Picture Oscar nomination—and especially a Best Picture win—can do wonders for the old bottom line.
Yes, studios hungrily vie to snare a Best Picture nomination for prestige and bragging rights, but also so they can benefit from the Oscar “bounce” in box office receipts.
Now, we have the latest statistics to provide evidence of the Oscar boost, thanks to industry research firm IBISWorld, the nation’s most trusted independent source of market research. From the 2007 to 2011 awards seasons, the Oscar-nominated films for Best Picture had an average production budget of $42.1 million and earned $104.2 million in box-office revenue, which is a 247.2 percent margin. According to IBISWorld, In response to this growth, studios are continuing to take creative risks and striving for the $82.5 million average in box-office sales that a Best Picture Oscar nomination attracts. “Big risks have led to high rewards during the past five years as less traditional movies, like The Artist, have claimed the top prize,” says IBISWorld entertainment industry analyst Agata Kaczanowska. “Similarly, most of the nominees for the 2012 awards stand out significantly from typical blockbusters. Out of the nominees, winners tend to be lower-budget movies that have experienced a larger monetary boost for the Academy Award nomination.”During the past five years, the average winning movie was made on a $17.0 million budget and earned $82.5 million at the box-office, which is a 485.6 percent margin; more than half of the winners’ box office sales occurred after the Best Picture nomination. On average, winners of Best Picture in the past five years earned: $35.3 million in box-office revenue before the Oscar nominees were announced, $29.4 million once they were nominated, and $17.9 million after winning the Oscar. In addition, movies nominated for Best Picture in the past five years that didn’t win the trophy but were in theaters during awards season earned: $81.2 million in box-office revenue before the Oscar nominees were announced, $19.0 million once they were nominated, and $4.2 million after the ceremony was broadcast.
According to IBISWorld, the movie industry is expected to earn a whopping $29.3 billion in 2013. Although, of course, a movie’s profit can vary drastically, depending on factors such as production budget and spending on marketing, the industry is expected to earn a profit of 7.4% by the end of the new year. As a rough comparison, the average Oscar-nominated movie since 2007 earned 247.2% of its budget in box-office sales. Movies that were nominated for the 2011 Best Picture Oscar, and earned a higher proportion of their budget in box-office sales, included The Artist (297.8%), The Help (678.8%), The Descendants (412.9%) and Midnight in Paris (334.2%). The average winner of the past five Best Picture Academy Awards earned 485.6% of their budget in box-office sales.
Of the 2012 Best Picture nominees, Lincoln is, thus far, the highest-grossing of the group (with over $150 million and counting), but that could all change in the coming months. In fact, since the Oscar nominations were announced last Thursday, both Lincoln and Silver Linings Playbook (another Best Pic nominee) are already experiencing box office boosts—last weekend, Silver Linings Playbook got a 38 % box office bump, while Lincoln had a 17 % increase.
Of course, all the moviemakers involved will insist that the artistic recognition and the Academy Award’s prestige are all that counts for them. However, they certainly don’t mind that little side-benefit—a distinct boost in box-office sales—that is another reason why the Best Picture Oscar is such a coveted prize. MM