Are Oscar nominees like Woman King getting a box office boost?
It’s been proven time and time again that Oscars attention has little to do with box office fame. Just look at recent winners like Moonlight, The Hurt Locker or CODA, the first streaming film to win the Oscar Grand Prize, all of which were more loved than seen, at least by the general public.
But during a year that saw several commercial films, including Top Gun: Maverick ($1.44 billion worldwide and counting), Elvis ($284 million worldwide), Black Panther: Wakanda Forever ‘ (scheduled for November 11) and ‘Avatar: The Way of Water’ (scheduled for December 16) are attempting to find themselves in the price race, film industry analysts believe the box office could play a role in helping films from major to keep studios in the conversation.
Another Oscar contender that has been well received by audiences is Sony’s historical action epic The Woman King, which launched at a whopping $19 million over the weekend. The studio is reviewing its commercial prospects before highlighting its awards season in good faith. markets the film more like a female “Braveheart” than an elaborate war drama. But “The Woman King,” starring Viola Davis and directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood, is the kind of contender that can only benefit from outsized ticket sales — especially if the well-reviewed film manages to keep box office goers in the coming weeks to attract
“This is a great scenario for The Woman King because it raises the profile of the film,” said Paul Dergarabedian, Comscore’s senior media analyst, of its better-than-expected debut. “It’s harder to get that kind of attention for a film that comes and goes on opening weekend and is never talked about after that. Longevity is better for awards season.”
In the case of smaller budget indie films, there are fewer expectations in terms of box office performance as these films are often not marketed to the general public. But when tentpoles succeed in theaters for all viewers, it represents raising the film’s stature in a wide, open field. Alternatively, lackluster ticket sales can dominate a film’s narrative in a way that overshadows its artistic accomplishments, as in Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story adaptation, In the Heights, Blade Runner 2049, and another Davis film was the case. guided film “Widows”.
It’s the first time in two years that the box office has even been mentioned in the same conversation as the Oscars. During the pandemic, older audiences — those who reliably turn out to be the art house fare that dominates during awards season — have been reluctant to go to the cinemas. At the same time, capacity restrictions at theaters and widespread COVID-19 flavors meant that competitors like 2020’s “Nomadland” and 2021’s “Licorice Pizza” had lackluster ticket sales. Unlike in the days before the pandemic, there were hardly any opportunities for commercial hits to enter the Oscar race.
“It’s been a chaotic time for the film industry, which is affecting awards season,” said Jeff Bock, box office analyst at Exhibitor Relations. “You had movies that no one knew where to see or when they were available.”
But as coronavirus cases recede and adult crowds return to films like The Woman King and Elvis, it could have a spillover effect on special films. Director Martin McDonagh’s dark comedy Banshees of Inisherin, Todd Fields’ classical musical drama Tár and Sarah Polley’s Women Talking – to name just a few that are causing controversy after rave festival premieres – could also get a box-office boost, albeit one that may be more modest, of awards attention.
It could be mutually beneficial for the Oscars to nominate films that people have actually seen. It’s up for debate whether a lack of populist films actually affects Oscars ratings, but analysts believe there’s no downside to highlighting films that have been widely viewed.
“It would do wonders for Oscar viewing [telecast]’ says Buck. “It certainly needs a boost, and the box office will always help.”
The producers behind the Oscars don’t need the entire lineup to be filled with commercial triumphs — although a few of the show’s ratings wouldn’t hurt. After all, the best picture race has been expanded to 10 nominees in hopes that quirky Irish dramedies and nearly three-hour explorations of Cancel culture could share love with audience favorites via heroic fighter pilots and formidable female warriors. There is enough space at the box office – and on the Oscars stage.
https://variety.com/2022/film/box-office/oscar-best-picture-box-office-success-1235376161/ Are Oscar nominees like Woman King getting a box office boost?