Making the cut: Big Business and the Oscars


NEW YORK  ̶  February 24, 2014  ̶  For film producers, an Oscar win is worth more than its weight in gold. Based on box office sales over the past five years, Best Picture Oscar winners earn about $13.8 million more post-Oscar win than their nominated counterparts. And it’s not just Oscar winners cashing in. Movies that secured a Best Picture nomination from the 2008 to 2012 award seasons had an average budget of $56.9 million and box office sales of $127.7 million, a 55.7% profit from box office sales alone. Comparatively, IBISWorld estimates that the Movie and Video Production industry as a whole earned $32.9 billion in 2013, with an average profit (EBIT) of 7.5%, including post-box office DVD and streaming sales.

While they may not always secure the Oscar, films with low marketing budgets usually receive the greatest boost from nominations. After Silver Linings Playbook was nominated for the 85th Academy awards, the number of theaters screening the movie more than tripled. Although the film was in theaters for more than six months, over half its ticket sales were made in the six weeks between its nomination and the Academy Awards ceremony. In an industry where opening weekend usually makes or breaks a film, it is no wonder studios and independent filmmakers are continuously looking for the next breakthrough actor and pushing the creative envelope in their storytelling to secure a nomination.

On average, winners of the Best Picture Oscar in the past five years earned 50.2% of box office revenue before the Oscar nominees were announced, 31.8% once they were nominated and 18.1% of box office revenue after winning the Oscar.

On average, movies nominated for Best Picture in the past five years that did not win the award, but were in theaters during the Academy Awards season earned 83.1% of box office revenue before the Oscar nominees were announced, 14.1% once they were nominated and 2.8% after the awards show.

Who will win Best Picture in 2014? In terms of sales, Gravity is currently ahead. The movie not only has the highest total box office sales at $266.9 million, as of February 14th, but had a 358.3% boost in weekly sales compared with the week before its nomination. Another notable film, 12 Years a Slave, shown previously in only 114 theaters and now in over 1,000, experienced a 415.0% jump in weekly sales. As millions tune in to the Academy Awards this year, keep in mind that for many producers the Oscar is not just a trophy, it’s a paycheck.


About IBISWorld Inc.

Recognized as the nation’s most trusted independent source of industry and market research, IBISWorld offers a comprehensive database of unique information and analysis on every US industry. With an extensive online portfolio valued for its depth and scope, the company equips clients with the insight necessary to make better business decisions. Headquartered in Los Angeles, IBISWorld serves a range of business, professional service and government organizations through more than 10 locations worldwide. For more information, visit or call 1-800-330-3772.

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