By Yohana Desta. Photos: Courtesy of A24.
The best picture Oscar bump strikes again. Over the weekend, Moonlight earned an extra $2.5 million in 1,564 theaters after distributor A24 gave the best picture winner a post-Oscars wide release. As of now, the Barry Jenkins-directed drama has earned just over $25 million total at the box office, a grand sum for a film that cost only $1.5 million to make. The bump Moonlight has seen is proportionally higher than those of past best picture winners like Spotlight and Birdman, though those films also grossed more at the box office in total.
“Barry Jenkins’ modern-day masterpiece, which also won Oscars for screenplay and supporting actor, and was made for just $1.5M, has also climbed to the top of the charts on all other cable and digital platforms domestically, while also continuing to excel overseas in the early days of the international theatrical rollout,” A24 said in a statement Sunday.
At this year’s Academy Awards, Moonlight picked up three statuettes, including best picture, best adapted screenplay, and best supporting actor. The film was expected to lose the night’s biggest prize to retro musical La La Land, and it did—for a moment, until the award ceremony’s most unbelievable mistake was corrected. The embarrassing gaffe likely encouraged people who had not yet seen Moonlight to go out and watch it, while devoted fans were likely spurred to go see an encore viewing.
La La Land still walked away with several prizes, however, and is seeing an Oscar bump of its own as a result. Over the weekend, the film (which has already been in wide release for several weeks) earned another $2.9 million at the box office, bringing its total domestic box office to a smashing $145 million.
Winning best picture has always come with a nice post-Academy Awards bump. Last year, Spotlight’s ticket sales increased by 140 percent, and the film earned an extra $1.8 million in the weekend after the Oscars. The film’s final domestic box office figure was $45 million.
Prior to that, best picture winner Birdman earned an extra $1.9 million in theaters. The high-strung theater drama notched $42 million at the box office when all was said and done.
The Oscar bump can also have other glowing side effects. After 12 Years a Slave won best picture, the book it was based on—a memoir by ex-slave Solomon Northup—jumped up the charts, going from no. 326 to no. 19 on Amazon.
This story originally appeared on Vanity Fair.
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