The Oscar box office bump is shrinking
Michelle Yeoh in “Everything Everywhere All at Once.”
The winner of the best picture award at Sunday’s Oscars may not get a box office bump to take home the biggest award of the night.
It’s part of the evolution of Hollywood. The Covid pandemic and increased flow have fundamentally changed the industry. The result has been a minor bump at the box office at the time of announcement and a huge increase in streaming demand.
From the nominations in late January to Wednesday, this year’s 10 best picture candidates contributed $82 million to domestic box office sales, $71 million of which came from “Avatar: The Way of Water.” (“The Way of Water” has grossed more than $670 million in total in North America.)
For comparison, in 2020, the nominees generated about $201 million at the domestic box office after being announced in mid-January, Comscore data shows. The Oscars were awarded on February 9 that year, weeks before Covid was declared a pandemic and lockdowns began.
“Many of this year’s contenders came from earlier in the release calendar so they were ‘played out’ in terms of their ability to generate Oscar bonus dollars in theaters,” said Paul Dergarabedian , senior media analyst at Comscore.
In the past, films like “1917,” “Hidden Figures” and “Silver Linings Playbook” — which were just nominated for the award — generated 50% or more of their domestic box office revenue after nod, according to data from Comscore. For “American Sniper” in 2014, 99% of its box office ticket sales came after being announced, that’s $346 million.
This year, all but one of the Best Picture nominees saw less than 13% of post-nomination box office revenue. “Women Talking,” one of the few films chosen for the top prize, generated 77% of its revenue after the nominations, or about $3.9 million, according to Comscore data.
“The Oscars bump is nothing new,” said Brandon Katz, business strategist at Parrot Analytics. “For decades, we’ve seen contenders pick up additional box office ticket sales once that the photo nominations are announced. under the influence of Covid, is a flux.”
Parrot Analytics determined that the 10 best picture nominees saw an average increase of 21% in audience demand in the week after receiving the prestigious nomination. This demand metric is measured by looking at consumption, including piracy, social media posts and interactions, social video views and online searches on sites like IMDb and Wikipedia.
Much of that demand may appear in streaming. Only six of the 10 best picture nominees posted comparable box office data in the week after the nominations were posted.
“The Banshees of Inisherin” saw the biggest percentage bump between the week before the announcement and the weeks after, with ticket sales jumping 381%. However, that represents a jump from $73,000 in box office receipts to $352,000.
That weekend, the co-nominated “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” “The Fabelmans,” “Tar,” “Triangle of Sadness” and “Women Talking,” each generated under $1 million in ticket sales. despite huge bumps in audience traffic.
Only “Avatar: The Way of Water,” which saw ticket sales decline 21% the weekend after the nominations, generated more than $1 million — counting $15.9 million in receipts domestic
The striking difference has a lot to do with when these movies were released, their availability on streaming platforms and the genres of the movies.
The popular “The Way of Water” was in its sixth week in theaters and moved at the box office, and “Everything Everywhere All at Once” did not return to the big screen after stop almost the sixth month from cinemas.
Notably, before it was announced “Everything Everywhere All at Once” had been in the public zeitgeist for almost a full year. The film was released at the end of March 2022.
Movies are now everywhere at the same time
Traditionally, Oscar bait films are released in the last quarter of the year, with most hitting cinemas in November and December. For this year’s nominees, only three appeared in the last two months of last year.
In the past, the Academy Awards ceremony was held in February, so even those films released in October might still be playing in theaters only if the pandemic has pushed the event to March.
However, this year, at the time of the nominations in late January, eight of the 10 films nominated for best picture were available on streaming. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing, Katz said.
“In the last two years everyone has said: movie theaters against streaming. I’ve never seen it that way,” said Katz. “I don’t necessarily think the data supports that. I really think those two mediums can be additive and complimentary and not in opposition.”
Katz noted that some films receive an increase in the box office from the nomination, but the titles available on streaming can build momentum and movement in the later part of the voting period.
“Obviously, it’s hard to argue with the dollar sign and box office figures,” said Wade Payson-Denney, an analyst at Parrot Analytics. “But that’s only one part of the equation today. Flow plays such a big role.”
“All Quiet on the Western Front” was the biggest bump in demand, up 59% in the week following its best picture nomination. The film ran for a limited time in theaters, just long enough to spark Oscar controversy, before moving to its home on Netflix. The fact that the film was only available on streaming is probably why it saw the biggest increase in demand.
This also explains why there is no box office data for the film.
On the other end of the spectrum, “Avatar: The Way of Water” and “Top Gun: Maverick,” the biggest box office blockbusters of 2022, saw demand drop.
For “Maverick”, the drop in demand is likely because the film has been out in public since May and has been available for streaming since late December. “The Way of Water” is still in theaters and will not be available for broadcast until the end of this month. Those who wanted to see these films have had enough time to do so or have seen them recently, they did not feel the need to watch them again or pirate them.
“Sunday television will be three additional hours of information showcasing the most popular movies and shows of the year,” Dergarabedian said. “This should translate into a greater desire for viewers to seek out these movies at home.” .”
Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal and CNBC. NBCUniversal released “1917” and “The Fablemans.”
EDIT: This article has been updated to show that in 2020, the nominees generated an estimated $201 million at the domestic box office after being announced in mid-January.