MGM uses Oscar to ‘Land’ more dates

UA will take last run at theatrical auds before April vid release

HOLLYWOOD — An Oscar win for best foreign-language film won’t do for MGM’s “No Man’s Land” what best picture will do for U’s “A Beautiful Mind,” but the Lion was roaring Monday nonetheless, with moderate expansion plans for “No Man’s” exhibition just ahead of an April video release.

So far, the biting satire of the brutal Bosnian War has grossed about $750,000 domestically, backed by a slow-burn promo campaign that dodged the bigger budgets of other prestige late-season entries. Pic opened in early December in Los Angeles and New York and eventually crept into about 100 markets, getting incrementally wider releases this winter as it picked up a Golden Globe and then the Oscar nom in the most crowded foreign-film field ever. With Sunday night’s win, UA will take one last run at theatrical auds, with new ads and openings in an additional 40-50 markets.

“The win doesn’t turn this into a $20 million-grossing film,” said UA veepee of marketing Dennis O’Connor. “I wish it did. If we had in gross what we have in accolades…”

But it will help, he said. O’Connor credited the latest kudos, an upset win over foreign-film box office champ “Amelie,” to the category’s unusual requirements that Acad members must see all nominees, in theaters, to be eligible to vote.

“The people that take the time to do that are the cinephiles of the Academy, so they’re not as influenced by the financial results of films,” O’Connor said. “For the people who take the time to see the film, it’s very entertaining, very topical. It’s a tough sell in the States, but it’s a satisfying film.”

O’Connor estimated the win will probably add another $200,000 to the film’s box office gross. It is scheduled to hit videostores on April 9, but it’s the kind of film where the last dribble of theatrical exhibition won’t hurt video sales, and in fact may boost them with a shot of overlapping advertising. And with revenue sharing, the win could provide a welcome bump of cash to MGM from its vidstore partners.

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