Auds long for Oscar shorts

Nominated sets do best box office yet

With an impressive eight-year track record, the Oscar-nominated shorts program scored another per-screen best for the Academy’s recognized group of short films, averaging $3,506 from an aggressive 106-location Stateside rollout.

This year’s nominated collection, distributed by Shorts Intl. and Magnolia, scored a total weekend gross of $371,605 domestically.

The program’s per-screen average was better than last year’s $3,436 record, which ultimately produced a domestic cume of $1.7 million; 2010’s collection had a $3,165 per-screen average and cumed $1.4 million.

Audiences increasingly have warmed to the Oscar-nommed shorts, which include separate releases of documentary, live-action and animation sets, since they began screening theatrically with the three 2005-nominated groups. This year, interest in the program may have received a healthy boost after Disney posted the full version of its nominated toon short “Paperman” on YouTube. The studio also made the toon’s score by Christophe Beck available for purchase on iTunes.

While the live-action short contenders generally come from up-and-coming filmmakers (unlike last year’s winner “The Shore,” from “Hotel Rwanda” helmer Terry George and his daughter Oorlagh George), the collection is becoming a must-see for film enthusiasts as well as voting Academy members.

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