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Oscar’s Baby Bump at Box Office

While only “Argo” wound up in the winner’s circle, a record number of best-pic nominees had a nine-figure consolation prize.

That’s good news, but the downside is that the usual post-Oscars B.O. bump might be significantly smaller than in past years  —  domestically, at least.

The six films to hit $100 million-plus Stateside include “Lincoln” (the leader with $180 million domestically), and, in descending order, “Django Unchained,” “Les Miserables,” “Argo,” “Life of Pi” and “Silver Linings Playbook.” In 2009 and ’10, five pic nominees reached that milestone.

With $90 million so far, Sony’s “Zero Dark Thirty” could feasibly join the nine-figure club.
Globally, Fox’s “Life of Pi” led the pack, grossing almost $600 million, while “Les Miserables” and “Django Unchained” follow with nearly $400 million each.

The prospects of an Oscar bump for Disney-DreamWorks’ “Lincoln” and Universal’s “Les Miserables” appear more promising overseas than in the States: Both still have a handful of major overseas markets yet to go. Each film has more or less exhausted the domestic market, though “Lincoln” continues to hold remarkably well.

The Weinstein Co.’s “Silver Linings Playbook” shows the greatest potential for domestic box office growth: Of all the nominees, it was the last to open nationwide, on Jan. 18 (several contenders are already on homevid, but “Playbook” won’t join them until April 30). The pic grossed an estimated $6.1 million this weekend, down just 3%, for a Stateside cume of $107.5 million.

Last year, Weinstein’s pic winner “The Artist” was the biggest B.O. beneficiary, grossing $12 million post-Oscars, more than double the boost for the next-best competitor, “Hugo.”

Stateside grosses for “Beasts of the Southern Wild” and “Amour” are typical for specialty releases.

“Beasts” topped out at $12 million domestically after having expanded to 318 domestic locations at its widest via Fox Searchlight. The pic launched Dec. 4 on homevid.

Comparatively, “Amour,” which took the foreign film Oscar, has lots more gas in its tank: Sony Pictures Classics just expanded the film to 300-plus locations last weekend, with approximately 60 more engagements scheduled to come throughout April. The film ultimately could surpass 2006’s “The Lives of Others” ($11 million domestic) as the Oscar foreign-language domestic B.O. champ.

Outside the best pic race, box office bumps become less noticeable, though Focus Features’ “Anna Karenina,” which took an Oscar for costume design, could see some last-minute B.O. love. The film, which cumed more than $12 million domestically, launched on homevid just last week but remains at 51 engagements.

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