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The Oscar Bump: Will the Nominations Create a Box Office Rush?

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Jan 10, 2013 | 10:23am EST

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Silver Linings Playbook

The "Oscar bump" — the coveted box office upswing resultant of a feature film's Academy Award nomination. Every January, the announcement of the year's Oscar nods gives you one final push to finally head to the theaters for that collection of classy and interesting films you've been putting off seeing, despite everyone telling you that you just have to go see them, you just have to. Oftentimes, the branding of a movie with the Best Picture Award nomination is enough to provoke a surge in viewership, hiking the immediate box office intake of said flick substantially.

RELATED: 2013 Oscar Nominations: See the Full List of Nominees Here!

This year's top nods include big earners and small wonders alike. Ranking highest among the 85th Annual Academy Award Best Picture nominees is Steven Spielberg's biopic Lincoln, with a standing gross of just under $145 million, domestically. At the bottom of the list is the revered foreign film Amour, having taken in $311,247 to date. Check below for the complete list:Lincoln — $144,089,046

Argo — $110,106,919

Django Unchained — $106,280,122

Les Miserables — $103,503,040

Life of Pi — $91,039,488

Silver Linings Playbook — $34,676,769

Beasts of the Southern Wild — $11,240,985

Zero Dark Thirty — $4,406,138

Amour — $311,247

But now that each of these films, all playing in national or select theaters with the exception of summer release Beasts of the Southern Wild, has become an Academy dignitary, it's worth paying attention to the lot's forthcoming box office behavior. A few of the films are bound to rake in a ticket sale boost, but is this more likely in the already flourishing, fun-filled Django Unchained, or a more personal story of love and psychological trauma like Silver Linings Playbook?

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Looking back at the Oscar nominations of the last eight years, we can pick out a few notable films that flourished in the wake of their Best Picture nods:

In 2012...

Following nominations for the 84th Annual Academy Awards, recognized films The Descendants, Hugo, The Artist, and The Help each experienced a hike in box office attention. The intimate George Clooney dramedy The Descendants observed the most drastic influence, with a 170% increase in ticket sales from the weekend prior to nomination announcements to the weekend immediately following. Hugo was a close second, with a 168% weekend-to-weekend increase. Ticket sale jumps for The Artist and The Help amounted to 40% and 32%, respectively.

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But it is not a given for any film to develop new popularity, even in light of awards recognition. Moneyball, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, and War Horse each saw a continuation of their organic steady declines in ticket sales pass right through the height of their competitors' heightened attention. In trying to determine the rationale for these distinctions, one could consider the factor of these films' release dates. However, this just presents further questions: Moneyball's September of 2011 opening could explain why it failed to soar through the Oscar season in comparison to later releases like The Descendants, The Artist, and Hugo. But with Extremely Loud and War Horse both Christmas Day releases, later than their more successful (in this respect) contemporaries, curiosity soars. Not to mention the fact that The Help's theatrical arrival in August '11 long preceded any of these other titles.

Amour

In 2011...

The 83rd Annual Academy Awards Best Picture nominations saw fewer Oscar boost scenarios, primarily due to many of its recognized features already being out of theaters:127 Hours

Weekend-to-weekend increase surrounding nomination: 1,702%

Release date: Nov. 12, 2010

The King's Speech

Weekend-to-weekend increase surrounding nomination: 41%

Release date: September 6, 2010

True Grit

Weekend-to-weekend increase surrounding nomination: 3%

Release date: Dec. 22, 2010

In 2010...

A similar case overtook the 82nd Annual Academy Awards Best Picture nominations. Of the 10 recognized films, only five were still in theaters at the time of the nominations. And of those five, only two experienced immediate box office boosts.

An Education

Weekend-to-weekend increase surrounding nomination: 541%

Release date: October 30, 2009

Precious

Weekend-to-weekend increase surrounding nomination: 120%

Release date: November 6, 2009

In 2009...

The 81st Annual Academy Awards was the last ceremony to only nominate five films for Best Picture. Each of these films experienced an Oscar bump following nominations.Frost/Nixon

Weekend-to-weekend increase surrounding nomination: 351%

Release date: Dec. 5, 2008

Slumdog Millionaire 

Weekend-to-weekend increase surrounding nomination: 83%

Release date: Nov. 12, 2008

Milk

Weekend-to-weekend increase surrounding nomination: 14%

Release date: Nov. 26, 2008

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Weekend-to-weekend increase surrounding nomination: 9%

Release date: Dec. 25, 2008

The Reader

Weekend-to-weekend increase surrounding nomination: 9%

Release date: Dec. 10, 2008

In 2008...

No Country for Old Men

Weekend-to-weekend increase surrounding nomination: 100%

Release date: Nov. 9, 2007

There Will Be Blood

Weekend-to-weekend increase surrounding nomination: 66%

Release date: Dec. 26, 2007

Juno

Weekend-to-weekend increase surrounding nomination: 2%

Release date: Dec. 12, 2007

In 2007...

The Departed

Weekend-to-weekend increase surrounding nomination: 1015%

Release date: Oct. 6, 2006

Little Miss Sunshine

Weekend-to-weekend increase surrounding nomination: 189%

Release date: July 26, 2006

Letters from Iwo Jima

Weekend-to-weekend increase surrounding nomination: 38%

Release date: Dec. 20, 2006

Babel

Weekend-to-weekend increase surrounding nomination: 24%

Release date: Oct. 27, 2006

The Queen

Weekend-to-weekend increase surrounding nomination: 18%

Release date: Sept. 30, 2006

In 2006...

Good Night and Good Luck

Weekend-to-weekend increase surrounding nomination: 740%

Release date: Oct. 7, 2005

Capote

Weekend-to-weekend increase surrounding nomination: 229%

Release date: Sept. 30, 2005

In 2005...

Million Dollar Baby

Weekend-to-weekend increase surrounding nomination: 1015%

Release date: Dec. 15, 2004

Finding Neverland

Weekend-to-weekend increase surrounding nomination: 125%

Release date: Nov. 12, 2004

Ray

Weekend-to-weekend increase surrounding nomination: 123%

Release date: Oct. 29, 2004

Sideways

Weekend-to-weekend increase surrounding nomination: 123%

Release date: Oct. 22, 2004

The Aviator

Weekend-to-weekend increase surrounding nomination: 56%

Release date: Dec. 17, 2004

[Photo Credit: Weinstein Company, Sony Picture Classics]


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