Best pic noms show Oscar glow

'Chocolat,' 'Night' grow, gain revenue

Oscar recognition gilded the B.O. of several nominated pics that saw broader expansions.

Sony Classics’ “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” added 450 theaters for a total of 1,651 engagements after fetching Oscar noms including a best-pic nod. Ang Lee-helmed pic took fifth place with an estimated $11 million over the four-day weekend to push its cume to $73.8 million. Sony Classics aims to hit another 50 or so venues with pic by next weekend.

“It’s obvious that there was an (Oscar noms) effect, and we had a lot of these screens lined up for just this occasion,” Sony Classics sales veep Tom Prassis said.

“Chocolat” — another best pic nominee — similarly added 333 locations for a total 1,481. Its No. 8 perf concocted $6.1 million in new B.O. on the weekend and sweetened cume to $34.5 million.

“You have a movie that’s had great word-of-mouth all along,” Miramax marketing veep David Kaminow observed. “Then, to get the great prestige and word-of-mouth that a best picture nomination gives you — that makes for a great combination.”

USA Films’ “Traffic” — yet another platformed pic to grab a best pic nom — added only two theaters at 1,742. But the Steven Soderbergh-helmed drug war drama still finished No. 6 with $7.5 million in estimated four-day grosses to park the $55 million production at a $80.1 million cume.

“Traffic” copped a good boost in smaller to mid-sized markets from Oscar-nom notoriety, USA distrib chief Jack Foley said.

Fine Line followed the best-actor nom for Javier Bardem’s perf in biopic “Before Night Falls” with a 19-theater expansion to 74 engagements. The result was a four-day estimated gross of $425,000, or an encouraging $5,743 per location for pic that’s set to hit a total 125 theaters on Friday.

Fox Searchlight exploited noms, including a best-thesp nod for Geoffrey Rush, to re-expand “Quills” to 201 theaters, a boost of 165. That produced $318,000 in grosses over the weekend to push biopic’s cume to $6.2 million after 13 weeks.

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