Michelle Yeoh’s “Everything Everywhere at Once.”
Sunday’s Best Picture winner at the Academy Awards may not take a bump at the box office for taking home the biggest prize of the night.
It’s part of the evolution of Hollywood. The Covid pandemic and the advent of streaming have fundamentally changed the industry. The result was a small increase in the box office at the time of nominations and a significant increase in the order flow.
From nominations in late January through Wednesday, this year’s Top 10 Picture nominees added $82 million in domestic box office sales, of which $71 million came from “Avatar: The Way of Water.” (“The Way of Water” grossed over $670 million in North America.)
For comparison, in 2020, The Nominees brought in about $201 million at the domestic box office after being nominated in mid-January, according to Comscore data. The Oscars are awarded in February. 9 that year, weeks before covid was declared a pandemic and the lockdown began.
“Many of the contenders this year originated from earlier in the release calendar and have therefore been ‘played’ in terms of their ability to reap the Oscar dollar in cinemas,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore.
In the past, films like “1917,” “Hidden Figures,” and “Silver Linings Playbook”—which were only nominated for the award—have earned 50% or more of domestic box office revenue after receiving a nod, according to data from Comscore. For 2014’s American Sniper, 99% of its box office ticket sales came after it was nominated, which is $346 million.
This year, all but one of the Best Picture nominees saw less than 13% post-nomination box office revenue. One of the smaller films to win the top prize, “Woman Talking,” took in 77% of its revenue after nominations, or about $3.9 million, according to comScore data.
“The Oscars bump is not a new phenomenon,” said Brandon Katz, industry strategist at Parrot Analytics. “For decades, we’ve seen contenders get additional box office ticket sales once Picture nominations are announced. But what’s changed recently, particularly as the Oscars have taken place a month later than usual in recent years and have been impacted by Covid, is a gushing bump.” .
Parrot Analytics determined that the top 10 photo nominees saw an average audience demand increase of 21% in the week after they received their coveted nomination. This measure of demand is calculated by looking at consumption, including hacking, social media posts and interactions, watching social videos, and online searches on sites like IMDb and Wikipedia.
Much of that demand is likely to manifest in streaming. Only six of the top 10 nominees for the picture released comparable box office data in the week after the nominations were published.
“Banshees of Inisherin” saw the biggest rise between the week before the nominations and the weeks after, with ticket sales jumping 381%. However, this is a jump from $73,000 in box office receipts to $352,000.
Over that weekend, fellow nominees “Everything Everywhere at Once,” “Fabelmans,” “Tarr,” “Triangle of Sorrow,” and “Women’s Talking,” all had ticket sales of under $1 million despite receiving huge highs. in audience visits.
And the only “Avatar: The Way of Water,” which saw ticket sales drop 21% over the weekend after nominations, grossed more than $1 million — bringing in $15.9 million in domestic receipts.
The striking difference has a lot to do with when these movies were released, their availability on streaming platforms and the genres of the movies.
The blockbuster “Waterway” was in its sixth week in theaters and was building momentum at the box office, while “Everything Everywhere at Once” made its return to the big screen after a nearly six-month hiatus from theaters.
Notably, by the time the nominations were revealed, “everything everywhere at once” had already been in the general zeitgeist for nearly a full year. The movie will be released in late March 2022.
Movies are now everywhere at once
Traditionally, Oscar bait films are shown in the last quarter of the year, with the majority hitting cinemas in November and December. As for this year’s nominees, only three made their debuts over the last two months of last year.
In the past, the Oscars were hosted in February, so even those films released in October might still have been shown exclusively in theaters if the pandemic hadn’t pushed the event to March.
However, this year, at the time of the nominations in late January, eight of the ten films nominated for Best Picture were available on streaming. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing, Katz said.
“The last couple of years, everyone said: movie theaters vs. streaming. I’ve never seen it like this,” Katz said. “I don’t necessarily think the data supports that. I actually think these two methods can be additive and complementary rather than mutually exclusive.”
Katz noted that some films get a box office boost from the nomination, but the availability of titles on streaming can build buzz and momentum during the latter part of the voting period.
“Obviously, it’s hard to argue with the dollar sign and box office numbers,” said Wade Payson Denny, an analyst with Parrot Analytics. “But that’s just one part of the equation nowadays. Live streaming plays a huge role.”
“All Quiet on the Western Front” had the biggest spike in demand, up 59% in the week after it was nominated for Best Picture. The film ran for a limited time in theaters, just long enough to spark Oscar contention, before going home to the Netflix. The fact that the movie was only available during streaming is probably why it experienced the biggest jump in demand.
This also explains why the film has no box office data.
On the other end of the spectrum, “Avatar: The Way of Water” and “Top Gun: Maverick,” the biggest box office smashes of 2022, saw demand drop.
For Maverick, there will likely be a drop in demand because the movie has been in the open since May and has been available for streaming since late December. “Waterway” is still in theaters and won’t be available for streaming until the end of this month. Those who wanted to watch these movies had plenty of time to do so or watched them recently, and didn’t feel the need to watch them again or pirate them.
“The telecast on Sunday will be a three-hour commercial in addition to showing films and shows that are considered the most popular of the year,” Dergarabedian said. “This should translate into a growing desire among viewers to seek out these films at home.”
Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal and CNBC. NBCUniversal distributed “1917” and “The Fablemans”.
Correction: This article has been updated to show that in 2020, the nominees made about $201 million at the domestic box office after their nomination in mid-January.