More than just prestige, wins are worth millions

Effects can be dramatic for smaller pix

What’s an Oscar worth? In the last four years, about $8 million.

After the Oscar ceremony, films winning one of the big four categories (picture, actor, actress and director) have grossed an additional $10 million. The losing nominees have grossed on average about $2 million after the kudocast.

There are, of course, exceptions on both sides of the spectrum. “Chicago” grossed $37 million of its $171 million U.S. run after it won six Oscars, including picture and actress for Catherine Zeta-Jones.

“Gladiator,” on the other hand, wasn’t able to capitalize at the box office on its five statuettes, including picture and actor for Russell Crowe. Released in May, the pic had finished its long-legged $187 million run by October. But, with Acad buzz building, DreamWorks re-released the pic in February on a handful of screens, taking in barely $200,000. Right after the Oscar ceremony, it expanded the pic into 577 theaters, but saw less than $1 million in its second awards-driven run.

For smaller films, the effects of a win can be dramatic. In 2003, more than a third of “The Pianist’s” $33 million domestic run came after it won actor for Adrien Brody and director for Roman Polanski.

For Oscar winners and losers alike, however, a nomination has a much more dramatic impact on a picture’s grosses. On average, films have grossed $11 million between the announcement of Oscar nominations and the ceremony. This nom bump accounts for more than a fifth of those films’ total grosses.

Pictures that eventually win Oscars in these categories do even better in the period between the noms and awards. On average, the winners take in $22 million in this period, compared with just $8 million for the losing nominees.

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