Box Office: Awards Contenders Stampede Golden Globes Weekend
As awards season enters its final stretch, a number of contenders will make their most aggressive push yet at the box office this weekend, timed to Sunday's Golden Globes ceremony and the announcement of Oscar nominations on Jan. 16.
Spike Jonze's Her and John Wells' August: Osage County -- both of which boast top Globe nominations -- expand nationwide Friday after playing in select theaters since December. Her, launching Dec. 18 and nominated for best picture in the musical and comedy category, has earned $3.1 million to date from 46 locations. Osage County, opening in New York and Los Angeles Dec. 27, has grossed $495,770 from five theaters. The ensemble earned a best actress nomination for Meryl Streep and best supporting actress nod for Julia Roberts.
Her, scoring Joaquin Phoenix a best actor nomination, will be playing in roughly 1,700 theaters, many of them upscale, according to Warner Bros.
Peter Berg's Lone Survivor also expands nationwide Friday, even thought it was shut out of the Globes race. Universal is still hoping for Oscar love, however (the war thriller, starring Mark Wahlberg, is tipped to likely win the weekend with a debut in the $18 million-plus range). The pic has grossed $326,685 from two theaters in New York and Los Angeles since Christmas Day, posting the top location average of any movie the past two weekends.
Every year, many awards candidates opt to avoid the year-end holiday crush and postpone expanding in a major way until Globes weekend, since conventional wisdom dictates that moviegoers rush to catch up on awards contenders they might have missed in advance of the ceremony. Oscar nominations, which follow four days later later, also bring increased attention.
Inside Llewyn Davis, from Joel and Ethan Coen, and Alexander Payne's Nebraska -- both nominated for best picture for a musical or a comedy -- will likewise up their profile considerably on Friday, although they won't yet be playing nationwide.
Paramount plans on increasing Nebraska's theater count from 240 theaters to roughly 500. From CBS Films, Inside Llewyn Davis will be playing in north of 500 locations on Friday, up from its current count of 161. The film, opening Dec. 6, has earned a pleasing $7 million to date despite its small footprint.
Nebraska, also boasting top performance nominations, has likewise earned $7 million since its mid-November limited release.
Many awards contenders already have an established box-office presence, including The Wolf of Wall Street and American Hustle, both of which opened nationwide over the holidays and should likewise benefit from Globes attention (both are nominated for best picture in the musical or comedy category). Ditto for Philomena, nominated for best picture in the drama category, and Saving Mr. Banks.
The other best picture contenders in the drama category are even further into their box-office runs, if not done altogether -- Rush, Captain Phillips and Gravity, which is now only playing in 167 locations nationwide. Warners intends to add more theaters on Jan. 17 following Oscar nominations, however.