As has been the case for a while, the Oscar event is the last stop in an awards journey that begins in late December. If movie-goers want to see “Bridge of Spies” or “Mad Max: Fury Road” or “Brooklyn,” they already -- for the most part -- had an itch to see these movies before the Oscars TV show.
Factor in all the advertising leading up to the big awards show, as well as increasing “earned” media -- TV publicity, guest appearances, and, of course, social media.
Then there’s the movie advertising during the Oscars itself -- which has been allowed on the ABC TV show since 2009. But those messages can’t tout already-released movies.
Social media considerations? Sure, increasingly social media can mean lots to movies -- much more than in previous years. Perhaps the current surprise hit “Deadpool” could point to this trend.
But many Oscar-winning movies are generally older, “adult”-theme-oriented films, which tend to see less social media activity
than those young-skewing movie action-ers.
Here is something else to consider: Many of those Oscar-winning movies are niche, more independent-looking movies -- not nearly your bigger box-office films. And almost always not summer or end-of-the-year holiday season blockbusters.
Five of the eight most recent Oscar best pictures grossed less than $100 million in U.S. box office. And four of those five pulled in less than $60 million. Last year “Birdman” won pulling in $42.3 million; the year before, “12 Years a Slave” earned best picture honors, totalling $56.7 million at the box office.
“The Martian” has the biggest U.S. box office to date of all best picture nominees this year: $228.3 million. “The Revenant” is next, with $165.5 million.
In an increasing real-time media world, Oscar picture winners should look in the rear-view mirror for the true drama around their business performances.