Feb 26, 2019

Best Picture winners earn most of their money before the Oscars

Winning Best Picture at the Oscars is a prestigious milestone, but it doesn't necessarily drive people to the theaters. Data from Comscore shows that most Best Picture winners make the majority of their revenue between the time of the nomination and the Academy Awards telecast — not after they win.

Data: Comscore; Chart: Harry Stevens/Axios

Why it matters: "Theres this misconception that winning Best Picture makes you a ton of money, but most of the time it doesn't," says Comscore senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian. "Winning is not about sheer dollars and cents. It's more about prestige and the movie's legacy that lives on."

The big picture: Most studios will expand the theater distribution of Oscar contenders either the weekend before or after nominations are announced to take advantage of the prestige that drives pre-show viewership. But most don't expect big bumps after the show.

  • This year's Best Picture winner Green Book, for example, made 40% of its box office revenue after it was nominated for the highest award, says Dergarabedian. "It was kind of sleepy before that. Once nominated, it was reinvigorated as a mainstream, crowd-pleasing hit."

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