Oscars Awards Not So La La Land: Power of the Box Office

It’s that time of year again, the glorious Awards Season 2017, and what a welcome diversion they are from less savoury world events. Who doesn’t love the glitz and glamour of the red carpet in awards season?

Oscars

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However, what might seem like a glorified fashion parade alongside a universal celebration of creative talent, is actually a well-honed business machine. We’ve already had the Emmys, VMAs, SAGs, Grammys, WGAs, DGAs, Golden Globes and the BAFTA’s which give a fairly sure indication as to who will be bringing home the prizes at the ultimate awards, The Oscars.

This year it’s all about La La Land, Manchester by the Sea and Lion, but let’s not forget sometimes an outsider film breaks the mold like Monster did in 2004, winning best actress for relative newcomer, model-turned- actress Charlize Theron, or Juno that received multiple nominations in 2008, a low budget, black comedy directed by Jason Reitman, who we’ve since worked with.

Juno

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The Oscars originated in 1929 and their longevity, prestige and scope make them the most coveted prize from a movie insider point of view. The reach of the Oscars goes far beyond the US film world. The Oscar brand is a universally recognised symbol of accomplishment in global entertainment. Each year the movie studios mount a campaign equivalent to a major-general working out battle strategy. The bottom line is a golden statuette will exponentially advance a movie’s box-office returns. In the right circumstances, a Best Picture win can add tens of millions of dollars to a film’s final gross.

The Academy is known to be elitist and its’ overall membership small in comparison to the size of the film industry, but it’s voting procedure is arguably more democratic than more recent awards associations. Of course, this only further adds to its’ prestige and mystique, elements that the Oscars brand are keen to nurture.

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Winning an Oscar, or receiving a nomination is only ever a good thing and movie studios spend millions on marketing certain films. These figures are an unsurprisingly guarded secret, but reportedly the Weinstein Company spent around 15 million to promote The King’s Speech in 2010, while carefully timing its’ release to stimulate Oscar buzz and in turn, boost the number of nominations.

Their strategy paid off. The initial projected gross figures for The King’s Speech was $30 million worldwide. After 12 Academy Award nominations, the revised estimate was over $200 million. After winning the Oscar for best picture, its worldwide box office surpassed $428 million with domestic DVD sales adding nearly another $32 million.

However, nothing is ever clear cut in Hollywood terms and there are many variables at stake. Box Office revenue is where the real success is measured.

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A Best Director win can add on an extra $11 million. Best Actress is worth $2.3 million in extra gross and Best Actor is worth only slightly more than $1 million. The Best Supporting Actor and Actress Oscars have zero box-office impact. For the actors nominated, and those who win, their personal bottom line can increase, but this can also have the reverse effect of pricing them out of the market. And like everything in Hollywood, and indeed the Industry as a whole, you’re only as good as your last film.

Hollywood producer Mark Pennell of Beacon Pictures says, ‘An Oscar does not guarantee more money. Russell Crowe was making around $10 million a movie directly after his award for Gladiator (2000). Because his films have not performed well, he now makes closer to $2 million. An Oscar could help with better roles and these roles may deliver box office success. But it is this box office success that leads to more money.’

In the Industry it is always about the bottom line and Box Office receipts, but that doesn’t mean we don’t love being part of it all, especially at our home-grown BAFTAs.

Anton Engel


Our Dancer Anton Engel | Mark Summers Dance Agency


And a major win for La La Land works for us too, because it’s confirmation that musical films, with huge dance numbers, are high in demand and will provide more work for all the talented dancers that we represent here at Mark Summers Management. That’s a trend we are definitely behind.

By Clea Myers
Follow me on Twitter @Camtweak

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