Which Movie Benefits Most From an Oscar Nomination?

Will moviegoers feel obligated to see The King's Speech?

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After Oscar nominations are announced, movie pundits ask two questions: who got snubbed the most and which title will get the biggest "bump" in box office gross from the award exposure. Since there plenty of smaller, indie-ish titles that have been graced with a nomination, there's plenty contenders for the largest "bump" this year. Who will it be: Will audiences feel obliged to see the lauded The King's Speech because it reaped 12 nominations? Will moviegoers finally realize that it's not that unpleasant to watch James Franco saw his arm off? Will Black Swan's producers keep hypnotizing the nation to appear at the lurid film en masse?

We turned to box office prognosticators for answers:

  • For This Weekend, It's a Done Deal  "The question of which Oscar nominated film could take top spot this weekend is an easy one--it's The King's Speech," figures Reagan Sulewski at Box Office Prophets. Here's his reasoning: it's "the film with the most nominations, the easiest premise to sell, and the one still with room to expand to major audiences. It gets the largest bump of any film this weekend, almost 900 venues, to around 2,500."
  • But Look Out For 127 Hours!  The James Franco outdoor adventure/excruciating arm-sawing movie expands and receives "bit more room to move" after getting some awards attention. "[Fox] Searchlight bumped up "127 Hours" from 69 locations last weekend to 916, timed for post-Oscar noms," reports Andrew Stewart at Variety.
  • A Rarity: Pretty Much All Contenders Could Get a Boost, concludes Deadline Hollywood's Pete Hammond, implicitly noting a widely held opinion that Oscar nominations don't always mean sales. Hammond writes: "This year Oscar could also mean a real boost at the box office, something Academy president Tom Sherak was especially happy about when I caught up with him after he announced the noms. He points out Best Picture nominees Black Swan (a smaller than expected 5 noms overall), The Fighter, The King’s Speech and True Grit are still in their ticket-selling prime making this Oscar season potentially one of the most profitable for contenders."
  • Eh, Except for 'Winters Bone'  The Los Angeles Times' Ben Fritz includes this little blurb about the indie drama's re-release prospects in his Movie Projector column: "Roadside Attractions is rereleasing the dark independent drama 'Winter's Bone,' which reached only $6.3 million in ticket sales last summer, at a handful of theaters in big cities including Los Angeles, New York and Chicago. Because the film is already out on DVD, its theatrical prospects are limited."
  • And Maybe The Fighter (Which Could Bounce Back After the Awards)  In assessing which of the "main contenders" (the five films that really have the best shot to win Best Picture) will end up grossing the most, Scott Mendelson at Hollywood News observes that "The Fighter has a shot (it's falling a little faster than The King's Speech and Black Swan), but more likely it will get over the hump after Melissa Leo and/or Christian Bale win their respective categories."
  • And All of the Other Titles on DVD, Who Just Get a Badge Saying 'Best Picture Nominee' At Hollywood.com, Paul Dergarabedian notes, "As for Toy Story 3 (the highest grossing film released in 2010), The Kids Are All Right (released all the way back in July) and Inception (whose director Christopher Nolan was egregiously overlooked for a directing nom), these films will forever carry with them the legacy (and the marketing plus) of having been nominated as one of the Best Pictures of 2010." Congrats!

Aggregated Potential Winner? It looks like movie pundits are feeling quite generous about the prospects for The Kings Speech.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.