May 28, 2015 | Updated at 06:44 PM EDT The Latest Entertainment & Celebrity News

Best Picture Contenders Produce $2 Billion Box Office Bounty

The movie studios behind this year's Best Picture nominees already have brought home a treasured prize: big box-office sales that placed the Oscar contenders among the most-watched films of 2012.

By Lisa Richwine, Reuters on Feb 21, 2013 09:39 AM EST
facebook tweet this pin it plus
Sign Up for Newsletter
  • Spielberg Producing 'Halo' Series For Xbox Live
  • The acclaimed director is taking his talents to the gaming world for the upcoming Halo television series. (Photo : Reuters)

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The movie studios behind this year's Best Picture nominees already have brought home a treasured prize: big box-office sales that placed the Oscar contenders among the most-watched films of 2012.

The nine competitors for Hollywood's top film award sold a combined $2 billion in tickets worldwide heading into Sunday's Academy Awards ceremony. Six of them, including frontrunners "Argo" and "Lincoln," hauled in at least $100 million apiece at U.S. and Canadian theaters.

"You've got pictures that are resonating with the public," said Keith Simanton, managing editor of movie website IMDb.com. "These are the happy confluence of commerce and art."

A year ago only one nominee, civil rights drama "The Help," reached the $100-million domestic sales mark, according to the Box Office Mojo website. The winning "The Artist," a mostly silent, black-and-white film, earned just $45 million in the North American (U.S. and Canadian) market during its entire theatrical run.

Global sales for last year's nine nominees topped out at $1.2 billion even after the Oscars and related publicity.

The inclusion of more commercially successful movies is partly by design. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the group that awards the Oscars, took criticism for seeming to favor adult-oriented, art house films that few people had seen, creating a disconnect with teen and young adult movie fans who flock to action-packed blockbusters.

Complaints escalated after the snub of 2008 release "The Dark Knight," a critically acclaimed Batman thriller with $1 billion in worldwide sales.

In 2009, the academy decided to allow 10 instead of five Best Picture nominees, a change that opened the field to more films with bigger audiences.

Domestic sales for this year's nominees averaged $103 million, according to IMDb, compared with $70 million for last year's lesser-seen movies.

The popularity of this year's crop reflects studios' ability to make better films with smaller budgets, said Universal Pictures Chairman Adam Fogelson.

In prior years, he said, a film with the Oscar-worthy scope and A-list stars of Universal's nominee "Les Miserables" would have cost so much that executives wouldn't have greenlit it. Universal kept the musical's cost to $60 million through judicious cost-control and the contracts with Anne Hathaway and its other stars.

"Some of the nominated films were only made because they could be made for a price," he said.

Hollywood hopes the bigger box office sales translate to more viewers of the Oscars telecast on Walt Disney Co's ABC network. Last year's U.S. audience totaled 39 million, down from 55 million in 1998 when mega-hit "Titanic" swept the awards, according to Nielsen data provided by Horizon Media.

"We have gotten calls from past Oscar producers saying they are jealous, because we just lucked out and had this fantastic year in film," said Neil Meron, one of the producers of this year's show. "We are very grateful to the movie gods."

"Lincoln," Steven Spielberg's story of the 16th U.S. president's fight to end slavery, leads this year's nominees with $177 million domestically. The movie won praise for humanizing the revered president, and ranks 14th among 2012 North American releases. Six fellow nominees fall in the top 35.

Globally, shipwreck drama "Life of Pi" towers above the lot with $577 million in ticket sales, overcoming skepticism of how the book adaptation about a boy stranded on a lifeboat with a tiger could work on the big screen.

Ben Affleck's "Argo," based on the real-life rescue of U.S. diplomats from Iran, earned glowing reviews and saw domestic grosses climb to $127 million as it collected other awards.

The remaining $100-million-plus films locked in the Best Picture battle are "Les Miserables," Quentin Tarantino's slave revenge tale "Django Unchained," and romantic drama "Silver Linings Playbook."

"Zero Dark Thirty," the controversial account of the CIA's pursuit of Osama bin Laden, is close with $89 million.

Social media buzz helped "Zero Dark Thirty" and "Silver Linings" record the biggest sales bumps after the January 10 Oscar nominations, said Phil Contrino, editor of Boxoffice.com, which tracks film mentions on Facebook and Twitter.

The two smaller nominees are French language drama "Amour," with just $4 million from a limited domestic run, and mythological "Beasts of the Southern Wild" with $12 million.

The Best Picture field showcases the diversity of films that propelled 2012 domestic ticket sales to a record $10.8 billion, said Chris Aronson, president of domestic distribution at 20th Century Fox.

"'Les Mis' and 'Django' probably couldn't be more on the opposite end of the spectrum," Aronson said. "It's a very balanced marketplace where there was something for everyone, and that's what makes a very healthy business."

© 2015 Enstarz, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

Tagged :   The Oscars 2013, Oscars
facebook tweet this pin it plus
Contribute to this Story send us a tip send us a tip send us a tip
Sign Up for Newsletters

Around The Web

  • SEARCH ENSTARS

Aaron Hernandez

Is Ex-NFL Star/Convicted Killer Aaron Hernandez's Completely Out Of Money?

Aaron Hernandez's lawyer claims the former NFL star has no assets.

Kandi Burruss

Kandi Burruss Is Headed For Huge Falling Out With Her Friend Carmon On 'RHOA'

Kandi Burruss is never one to hold back on her thoughts and a screaming match with her friend Carmon is no different.

Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson

'Fifty Shades Of Grey: Darker': Here Are The Six Actors Who Could Play Jack Hyde

We're completely obsessing over who will play Jack Hyde in 'Fifty Shades of Grey Darker.' Here are the actors who have the best chance of terrifying Anastatia Steele Grey!

Sawyer Fredericks

'The Voice' Season 8 Winner Sawyer Fredericks Shows Compassion To Fans On Facebook

The newly crowned 'Voice' winner discussed how a certain message 'helped' him before the competition's finale.

Nikolas and Elizabeth work to continue trying to keep their secret on the May 27, 2015 episode of 'General Hospital'

Elizabeth & Nikolas Worry That The Truth About Jake Could Still Be Revealed On 'General Hospital'

Elizabeth & Nikolas contine working to keep their secret despite suspicions.

Sawyer Fredericks

'The Voice' Season 8 Winner Returns To His Home On A Farm In Upstate New York

Sawyer Fredericks may have won Season 8 of 'The Voice,' but he has no intentions of trading his farm life for city living.

Rumer Willis

'DWTS' Champ Rumer Willis Reflects On Her Journey This Season

Rumer Willis reflects on her 'Dancing With the Stars' journey and why she's 'a bit sad' now.

Thomas Ravenel & Craig Conover

Did Thomas Ravenel Quit 'Southern Charm' After Filming Season 2?

Is Thomas Ravenel done with 'Southern Charm?'

Anna and Josh Duggar

Who Were Josh Duggar's victims?

Which sisters were Josh Duggar's victims?

Kristen Stewart Robert Pattinson

Reporter Asks Kristen Stewart If She Is Still In Love With Robert Pattinson

It's been nearly three years since their break-up and the media is still wondering what the status is on Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson's relationship.

Jill Duggar

What Will TLC Do With Jill Duggar's Rumored Spin-Off Show?

Is TLC going to pull the plug on all of the Duggars?

Stevie J & Joseline Hernandez

'LHHATL' Husband & Wife Stevie J & Joseline Hernandez Go At It On Twitter

There's trouble in paradise with 'Love & HIp Hop Atlanta' stars Stevie J and Joseline Hernandez.

Trina Braxton

Details Behind 'Braxton Family Values' Star Trina Braxton's Ugly Split With Estranged Husband Gabe Solis

While fans tuned in to WeTV's Tamar & Vince featuring Tamar Braxton and Vincent Herbert, Braxton's sister Trina Braxton is going through an ugly divorce with her now estranged husband Gabe Solis.

Aaron Hernandez & Tom Brady

Is Aaron Hernandez Using His 'Charm' To Get What He Wants Even From Behind Bars?

Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson discusses how Aaron Hernandez is a master manipulator.

Latest News

Pretty Little Liars

What Does Alison Know About Charles? Sasha Pieterse Previews 'Pretty Little Liars' Revelations

Alison may have the upper hand in searching for her alleged brother.

Doctor Who

Twelve & River Togeather Would Be A 'Doctor Who' 'Sex Storm', Russel T Davies Explains

Find out what would happen if the current Doctor met up with his wife.

Zoe Sugg Alfie Deyes

Alfie Deyes Says He's 'Lucky' To Have Zoe Sugg

YouTube celebrity Alfie Deyes just gushed over his girlfriend in a Twitter post.

samanth acosta

Samantha Acosta From Showtime's Docu-Series '3AM' Talks Photography, Working As An Escort, & More

Enstars caught up with Samantha Acosta, from Showtime's new late night docu-series '3AM'.

Adam Levine Behati Prinsloo

Adam Levine & Behati Prisnloo Get Extra Expressive On Social Media

Victoria's Secret model Behati Prinsloo posted a couple uploads on Instagram that show her and her husband in what appears to be a distressful moment.

Little Mix

Little Mix Act In Their Music Video For 'Black Magic' By Channeling Nerds

Little Mix took to Twitter to tease their music video for 'Black Magic'!

Selena Gomez

Justin Bieber & Selena Gomez Spotted At Church: Are They Back On?

Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez ran into one another at church on Wednesday night.

Pearl 'RuPaul'

'RuPaul' Finalist Pearl Opens Up On Being Her 'Own Worst Critic'

All the 'RuPaul' fans who are #TeamPearl this season might want to get to know her a little better with more insight on the type of stylistic queen she really is.

Rob Kardashian

Did Rob Kardashian Just Checks Into Rehab?

Rob Kardashian is reportedly in rehab.

Simon Saran & Farrah Abraham

Farrah Abraham's Boyfriend Blames 'Teen Mom' Grumpiness On Producers

Farrah Abraham's boyfriend, Simon Saran, is defending his 'Teen Mom OG' behavior on Twitter.

Featured Videos

From Our Partners

FIFA 16

'FIFA 16' Is Getting Women's National Teams, See Them In Action For The First Time In Debut Trailer

Make some room, gentlemen: EA Sports has finally added women to its annual soccer title, announcing that female national teams will be present in FIFA 16.

Persona 4: Dancing All Night

'Persona 4: Dancing All Night' Releasing This Fall, 'Disco Fever' Special Edition Announced [NEW TRAILER]

After long radio silence, ATLUS has finally announced that Persona 4: Dancing All Night will hit this fall, and come in a special edition full of goodies.

The Elder Scrolls Online

'The Elder Scrolls Online Tamriel Unlimited' Video: Final Entry In Series Shows Off The MMO's Expansive World

Bethesda has released the third and final video in a series for its Elder Scrolls MMO titled "This Is The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited".

The Witcher 3

'The Witcher 3' Free DLC Released, Missing Miners Mission & Alternate Yennefer Outfit Now Available

CD Projekt RED has released the next two Witcher 3: Wild Hunt DLCs announced earlier this week.

Darnell Dockett

Darnell Dockett, Ashanti Rumors: 49ers DE Dating Pop Star? [PHOTO]

Ashanti and Darnell Dockett are reportedly an item, and some social media exchanges may prove it.

Jermain Taylor

Jermain Taylor Latest Update: Arrest Warrant Issued Following Alleged Assault In Rehab

The downward spiral of former middleweight champion Jermain Taylor continues. An arrest warrant has been issued for the ex-champ after he allegedly assaulted a man at a rehab center.

Kevin Love

Kevin Love Free Agency: Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers Possible?

Despite reaching the finals, Cleveland still has a real shot at losing Kevin Love this summer.

Splatoon

Nintendo eShop And Virtual Console Update, May 28: 'Splatoon', 'Don't Starve' & More Make Their Way To Wii U

Another week, another Nintendo eShop and Virtual Console update. Nintendo is bringing a selection of new games to its digital stores on both Wii U and 3DS today--let's see what they have on tap.

PlayStation

PS Plus June 2015 Free Games Revealed: 'Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes', 'Skulls Of The Shogun' & More

It's one of the best times of the month for PlayStation owners, as the free June PS Plus games for subscribers have been announced.

Real Time Analytics