Last weekend at the box office, the raunchy little-substance comedy Identity Thief took in a whopping 23.6 million dollars. Much further down the profit totem pole, the four-Golden Globe, eight-Oscar nodded Silver Linings Playbook raked in a mere 6 million.
This year’s domestic box office hit a record 10.8 billion dollars and the number of tickets sold increased for the first time in three years. With that statistic in mind, where is the justice for the award-winning films? Hollywood history has shown a clear distinction between movies taking home the trophies and those taking home the profit.
The Herald Sun reported that most best-picture candidates have struggled to surpass 100 million dollars at the box office. Last year, of the nine Oscar best-picture nominees, only The Help managed to pass that threshold.
In more encouraging news, however, five of the nominated flicks, Argo, Les Miserables, Lincoln, Django and Life of Pi broke that 100 million dollar ceiling this year, with Zero Dark Thirty and Silver Linings Playbook close behind.
The pendulum swing is finally giving quality movies not only critic recognition, but deserving revenues as well.
Formerly, award parties have been filled with viewers unfamiliar with any of the nominated or winning flicks. This Oscar season, there is more gambling than guarantee on which movies will take gold.
This year’s trend of the best-picture nominations is a focus on historical happenings or current issues. Whether or not this has contributed to their box office popularity, what were once exclusive films for the cinematic snobs have now become accessible to the common theatre attendee.
As the San Francisco Chronicle said in regard to this year’s Oscar selections, “The movies have been debated, criticized, mulled over and tweeted. Above all, they’ve been relevant.”
This is not an endorsement for strictly drama genre films, simply well made ones. If American audiences put their ticket towards these movies, Hollywood will listen. The quality of movies offered will improve if we are putting money in the right pockets.
We will always have Pitch Perfects, and Twilighters will always be among us, but this year’s Oscars have given a hope in the cinematic future for those theatres to be more empty and less grossing.