General News

Miramax Starts Its Oscar Campaigns

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Feb 13, 2003 | 12:14pm EST

Harvey Weinstein must be giddy. This year's Oscar race looks like it's going to be a win-win situation for Miramax Films.

With nods for Chicago, Gangs of New York and The Hours, which Miramax will distribute internationally, the Weinstein mecca earned more nominations than any other studio, 40 in total. The question is, which film are they going to push to win it all?

"Quite frankly, we are pushing hard on both Gangs and Chicago. We'll push them both equally, and let the chips fall where they may," Jason Cassidy, the studio's vice president of marketing, told Reuters. Miramax has separated its marketing group into distinct teams devoted to each movie.

The studio is also boosting the number of theaters the films are playing in, laying plans for the box office onslaught--or "Oscar bounce" as it's lovingly referred to--which usually occurs when a film gets an Oscar nomination.

Tom Ortenberg, president of film releasing for Lions Gate Entertainment, told Reuters Miramax's predicament is "an embarrassment of riches." Lions Gate profited on Halle Berry's Monster's Ball best actress nomination last year which boosted the box office.

"It's been a great year for a great company and for a master of the game," Ortenberg said about Miramax's chief Harvey Weinstein.

Miramax has notoriously been known to use the Oscar bounce to its full advantage. They successfully led the 1996's The English Patient and 1998's Shakespeare In Love to best motion picture wins and higher ticket sales during the campaign season. For instance, Reuters reports Shakespeare In Love earned about $38 million in domestic revenue in the two months before the nominations but equaled that figure in the weeks after the noms were announced. Upon winning the Oscar, the film took in $27 million.

Reuters also reports last year's winner A Beautiful Mind saw ticket sales jump 28 percent the week after nominations, even though it played in about 140 fewer theaters, according to Exhibitor Relations, which tracks box office results. Of its total $170 million domestic box office, one-third, or $57 million, came between nominations and the Oscar ceremony.

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