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Oscars 2024: With a gold statuette comes the opportunity for movies to have a second life

7 Mar 2024 8:00|Conotoxia.com

Ticket sales skyrocket by up to several hundred per cent, and the number of cinemas screening an award-winning movie is more than double - this is how an Oscar award can work. Examples? "The Shape of Water": after winning the statuette for best picture of 2017, ticket revenues increased by 171 per cent compared to the previous week. A year earlier,"Moonlight" saw a 238 per cent increase in weekly ticket sales and was shown in more than 1,500 cinemas in the US, up from less than 600 the week before.

Oscary 2024; Źródło: Cinkciarz.pl

How much do you really have to put in to win an Oscar?

Ranked first in terms of production budget among titles that have won recognition, the American Academy's top prize for best film is "Titanic". The 1997 winner that won the statuette cost USD 200 million, i.e. according to current Conotoxia exchange rates, nearly EUR 184 million. However, the investment has more than paid for itself. In the US alone, the film brought in more than 674 million USD and 2.22 billion USD worldwide.

Second on the list of top-budget Oscar winners is "Gladiator", awarded in 2001. The production cost 103 million USD. In the US, the blockbuster starring Russell Crow grossed 187.6 million USD, while it made 451.6 million USD worldwide.

More lucrative was the third part of the saga, filmed based on J.R.R. Tolkien's novel "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King". "The Return of the King", the best movie of 2003, was made with a budget of 94 million USD (more than 86 million EUR). As a result, the film's producers were delighted to hear that it had grossed 1.12 billion USD worldwide, including 379 million in the USA.

"Roughly 200 million USD spending on "Titanic" does not mark the zenith in the cinematic world. Suffice it to mention that "Avengers: Endgame", nominated in the special effects category for 2019, cost more than 350 million US dollars. More than 30 other titles were produced with budgets over 200 million USD, which did not help them reach for the Best Picture statuette", comments Robert Blaszczyk, Head of Strategic Clients Department at Conotoxia.

Oscar-winning movies with a budget of less than 10 million USD

The Oscars are not only being sought by high-budget super productions, however. In 2021 (this was the award for the pandemic year 2000), the Academy chose "Nomadland", with a budget of 5 million USD. In this case, due to, among other things, COVID restrictions and cinema closures, the 2021 Oscar did not translate into a spectacular box office success. The title was under the radar in the US, grossing 3.7 million USD. The global profit turned out to be much higher - 38.7 million USD.

Another example of a triumph with a relatively modest budget can be found in the award-winning "Moonlight" in 2016. Writer and director Barry Jenkins, with barely 1.5 million USD at his disposal, created a picture that reached the Academy Awards and earned nearly 65 million USD, including almost 28 million USD in the United States.

"The examples of "Nomadland", "Moonlight" or the 2005 award-winning "Crash" are, however, among the exceptions. The latter was made for 7.3 million USD, and cinemas were not interested in this title until it won an Oscar, but it is an excellent film. Nevertheless, the rule of thumb is that the statuettes go to filmmakers with budgets of a dozen or so million dollars. In the past 30 years, only three of these titles cost less than 10 million USD, and in most cases, the amounts exceeded 20 million USD", comments Robert Blaszczyk.

Oscary 2024; Źródło: Cinkciarz.pl

The Oscar statuette sparks a second life

"Happiness, prestige, fame - in addition to the fleeting benefits of winning the Oscar for Best Picture - the Oscar statuette translates into tangible audience interest. Consequently, we have an ever-increasing number of theatres offering award-winning titles, and in this way, ticket sales revenues have increased. Theatres, therefore, also see this as business," says Robert Blaszczyk.

As mentioned above, "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" earned the most ( 72.6 million USD) in US cinemas in the first week after its release. After that, it recorded 20-50 per cent declines for 10 consecutive weeks, down to just under 2.2 million USD. Meanwhile, the week after the Oscar statuette was won and presented, as if by magic, audiences returned to cinemas, and the weekly revenue skyrocketed by 40 per cent, topping 3 million USD.

"A similarly sized (43 per cent) jump in sales in the week after the Oscar win was recorded by "Titanic". On the other hand, the most recent winner of the statuette, "Everything Everywhere All at Once", could talk about a real bull market, when in the first week after Oscar night, ticket sales in the USA leapt by as much as 84 per cent, from USD 112,000 to 206,000. In the second week, the upward surge was 69 per cent - from 206k to 347k, and in the third week, it peaked, jumping 273 per cent - from USD 347 000 to USD 1.3 million. During this period, the number of US cinemas screening "Everything Everywhere All at Once" increased from 309 to 1 633", the expert notes.

The unforgettable "Braveheart" was given a second life, so to speak, in the week after the Oscar presentation on 25 March 1996, increasing its weekly sales by 158 per cent. - from 227,000 to almost 600,000 USD. The 2011 award-winning "The Artist" not only saw record weekly revenue of 3.6 million USD on the wave of Oscar interest, but the number of US cinemas that released the winner on their screens also reached its peak of 1,756. Here, it is worth noting that in the initial few weeks after its release, the title could be seen in just under 200 US cinemas. The same was true of the South Korean production "Parasite", awarded in February 2020. It was only after the 2020 Oscar win that the picture reached a wider audience in more than two thousand US cinemas, with weekly ticket sales increasing by 245 per cent, jumping to almost 5.7 million USD. The October 2019 premiere opening, with a revenue of 393,000, did not even herald a substitute for peak interest.

Oscary 2024; Źródło: Cinkciarz.pl

The Oscars Gala as a crowning moment: viewership and advertising prices

Television viewers' interest in the gala at which the US Academy Awards are presented cannot compare with, for example, the Super Bowl finals, which attract more than 100 million Americans in front of their screens every year. What is more, Nielsen Research Media data shows that the years of television glamour of Oscar night have passed with the growth of streaming platforms.

In 1998, when "Titanic" claimed the statuette for best picture, the broadcast was watched by an average of 55.3 million viewers. It was never that good with viewership again. On the contrary, the new century has seen quite significant declines. Suffice it to say that the last Academy Awards attracted an audience of less than 19 million (comparable to, for example, last year's Grammy Gala - more than 17 million), which still continued the upward trend from the 2021 bottom when nearly 10.5 million Americans watched the ceremony.

"The viewership of a given broadcast is reflected in advertising prices. While it costs 7 million USD to broadcast a 30-second segment during the Super Bowl, the same advertising time during the Oscar gala costs more than half as much - 2.2 million USD", adds Robert Blaszczyk.

Who will get an Oscar this year?

The 96th Academy Awards ceremony for 2023 takes place on 10 March in Los Angeles. The nominations were announced at the end of January. Competing for the Best Picture award are: "Oppenheimer", "American Fiction", "Anatomy of a Fall", "Barbie", "The Holdovers", "Killers of the Flower Moon", "Maestro", "Past Lives", "Poor Things" and "The Zone of Interest".

"The first of the titles above had a budget of approx. 100 million USD. The production of "Barbie" was even more expensive, totalling 145 million US dollars. In the latter case, one can already speak of a huge box office success. The movie has earned close to 1.5 billion USD worldwide and, even though six months have passed since its July release, the Academy Award could trigger a new wave in cinemas and thus further significant revenues", analyses Robert Blaszczyk.

7 Mar 2024 8:00|Conotoxia.com

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