After all the money the studios and independent distributors poured into campaigning, what was actually winning an Oscar really worth? If you go by pure box office results in the heat of the publicity and mass audience viewership of the Academy Awards, then probably not as much bang for their buck as they would like.
For some films that managed a major win — like The Help (for supporting actress Octavia Spencer), Beginnners (for supporting actor Christopher Plummer), or Midnight In Paris (for Woody Allen’s Original Screenplay) — there may be added incentive to pick up the DVD, but no other residual value. In TV ads I saw for last week’s home video release of nominations leader Hugo, there was no mention of its impressive haul of five Academy Awards (in technical categories), but I am sure they will probably put a sticker on the box. Still, the expensive Martin Scorsese film, which had earned $55 million up to the week before its 11 nominations, added only another $14 million by the time the Oscars rolled around a month later — despite a big campaign spend on TV and print by Paramount. Internationally, Oscar wins can be a very big thing. Sony Pictures Classics’ Best Foreign Language Film winner, Iran’s A Separation, stands to gain from its exposure in the Academy race this season. With nearly $1 million added over the weekend (on more than 200 screens) and a $3.4 million domestic take to date, it will be a sizable art house hit far eclipsing SPC’s disappointing 2010 Foreign Film winner from Denmark, In A Better World, which only rode its Oscar victory to a $1 million gross. (more…)