EXCLUSIVE: Fox Searchlight plans to add about 500 theaters this weekend for director Steve McQueen’s 12 Years A Slave after last night’s Best Picture Drama win at the Golden Globes with a goal of reaching 1,000 runs in the next two weeks. Expect a lot of art house locales as big theaters are very packed with holdover holiday fare. After getting such nods from the Globes and Oscar nominations, a studio often ups its runs of the film when it can using those awards and nominations as a marketing tool. New ads touting the nominations and wins are traditionally done and then blasted out into the marketplace. Award nominations and wins, especially for the Oscars, means cash at the box office. For instance, Argo, which was still in theaters, had grossed $110M before Oscar nominations and then grossed another $19M after. Between the time from the nominations to the Academy Award ceremony, the Warner Bros drama got a 14% bump at the box office and then another 5% bump after its win for Best Picture. (What was interesting is that Argo was on DVD at the time but still playing in theaters). Sony has previously stated that it plans to re-release Captain Phillips on Wednesday, the day before the Academy Award nominations are announced, and hopes to expand the film to 1,000 screens. The studio’s American Hustle, which won the other Best Picture Golden Globe (for Comedy or Musical) is already in the marketplace in over 2,500 theaters. Conversely, Slave is playing in only 114 theaters. The Golden Globe and expected Oscar nominations for picture, acting and directing categories for Slave is marketing you can’t buy. The critically acclaimed film, having received a bevy of nominations from BAFTA, just opened in the UK on 208 screens to quickly grab the No. 1 spot with a strong $4.2M take over the weekend. Internationally, it has yet to debut in Germany, France, Australia, Mexico, Brazil and Japan among others. Domestically, it has grossed $38.9M since being released in a limited run October 18. “What we’re looking at is what we call a two-step. We will be adding theaters both this weekend and next weekend, going back into some of the art theaters that we were in before,” said Frank Rodriguez, head of distribution for Fox Searchlight. “Based on the Golden Globe win and expectations for it do well with the Oscar nominations on Thursday, we will pop it up over the next couple of weeks and hope to get to into 1,000 theaters by Jan. 24th.” He noted that the marketplace is very crowded with holdovers from the holiday. And he’s right. It’s not just the commercial field that is crowded but also the art house market with Warner Bros’ Her and The Weinstein Co.’s August: Osage County expanding this past weekend. Fare such as the critically-acclaimed Fruitvale Station from director Ryan Coogler, which may get a Best Picture Oscar nom on Thursday, is unlikely to get back into theaters as its DVD run starts tomorrow.
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.