7 Oscar-Winning Movies That Actually Weren’t Hits At The Box Office

The Academy Awards are seen as the highest honor for work in cinema. A lot have been given to movies that were huge hits like Avatar, which made $77,025,481 it’s opening weekend and came in at number one. But the Oscars don’t always go with what’s popular. There are many movies that cleaned up at the Oscars, but plummeted at the box office. Some of these movies faded away into obscurity after awards season, while some became late favorites after people rushed to go see them after they got their award. So which Oscar-winning movies weren’t hits at the box office? These seven may surprise you.

1. The Wizard of Oz

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Everyone is familiar with the classic tale of Dorothy being swept into the land of Oz. It won two Oscars for Original Song and Original Score, but it wasn’t a hit when it was released. There are no clear numbers of what it made its opening weekend, but according History it was only a modest success and nothing to the popularity it is now. Audiences grew to love it with time.

2. Hugo

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Hugo is an orphan living in the walls of a train station and investigating his father’s past. The movie won an astounding five Oscars for cinematography, sound mixing, sound editing, visual effects, and art direction. But the average person was probably confused of what the movie was. The film’s budget was $170,000,000 but on opening weekend it only made $11,364,505.  

3. Citizen Kane

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The movie is deemed as the best movie of all-time, but that doesn’t mean it was popular at it’s release. The movie is about the death of a publishing tycoon and won an Oscar for best writing but Orson Welles was booed at the ceremony. The budget was $686,033 but bombed at the box office according to History.  

4. The Artist

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Not many people were into watching a silent black-and-white movie in 2011. The film showed a silent movie star and a dancer navigating the change to talking movies. It won five Oscars including Best Motion Picture of the Year, however the movie’s budget was $15,000,000 and on its opening weekend it made $204,878 according to IMDB.

5. The Last Emperor

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You might not remember this movie. It tells the story of the last Emperor of China and won nine Oscars. Although the Academy loved it, audiences didn’t show up in theaters. The movie’s budget was $23,000,000 but on its opening weekend it made $21,105.

6. The Hurt Locker

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The movie goes into the Iraq war and follows an army bomb squad. It won six Oscars including Best Picture of the Year, but it didn’t do too well with audiences. The movie’s budget was about $15,000,000 and only made $145,352 according to IMDB.  

7. The Crying Game

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The movie shows an IRA member looking into the past of one his British captors. It won an Oscar for Best Screenplay, but it was far from a hit. The movie’s budget was £2,300,000 but the wide release in America made $5,210,415. It wasn’t until after the award show that it got a boost in sales.