Oscar winners can expect sales increase
A best pic win at the Oscars customarily translates into a major bounce in B.O. bucks. But for the second year in a row, any Oscar riches for the year’s best pic will be showered on the winner’s DVD rollout rather than its theatrical run.As with “Crash” last year, Warner Bros.’ “The Departed” had already entered the DVD market when its name was called as the night’s last award at the Kodak Theatre. Wins should cement a nice uptick in units shipped for Warner Bros. instead of any turnstile-spinning at the multiplexes. (Once in the homevid market, a pic can eke back into theaters, but not in a major way as most exhib chains aren’t amenable to pics that have already hit the homevid window.) “Departed” opened in October as a No. 1 — and the biggest ever opening for Scorsese — and never looked back as the biggest B.O. success story among the best pic nominees. Scorsese’s pics rarely crossover outside urban auds, and no pic he’d ever helmed had opened bigger than $11 million. “Departed” hit more than $26 million when it bowed, outpacing expectations. Pic spent three weeks at No. 2 on the charts, beating out awards hopefuls including “The Prestige” and “Flags of Our Fathers” on word of mouth that powered it to $131.5 million at the domestic B.O. After taking in $121.7 million after 16 weeks, Warner Bros. put its hit back in wide release just before its DVD run in late January. Move added another $6.5 million to “Departed’s” take. As with “Departed,” fellow best pic nominees “Babel” and “Little Miss Sunshine” are already available on DVD and would look to make further coin in ancillary markets. However, wins in categories outside the best pic circle rarely rate as highly in added biz. The film that “Departed’s” win in the best pic category may have hurt most is Warner’s own “Letter from Iwo Jima,” a pic that has stayed in limited release, and is still in theaters on just over 650 screens. A win might’ve been the needed boost the subtitled “Iwo Jima’ could have used to go much more widely and drive B.O. And the pic hit on the right mix of Hollywood pizzazz — a starry cast and a fun, violent ride — with arthouse cred in Scorsese and its roots as an Asian remake.