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Golden Globes Boost Box Office for Nominees

The King's Speech
Laurie Sparham/The Weinstein Company
"The King's Speech" is likely to see a boxoffice surge thanks to its Golden Globe nominations.

Specialty fare benefits most in crowded end-of-year marketplace.

Hollywood might treat the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn.’s Golden Globe Awards as a big, festive party, but Globe nominations also add up to serious business at the box office, especially for smaller films.

Oscar nominations, which won’t be announced until Jan. 25, have a greater impact, but the Globes are a strong second. Last year, 17 million viewers watched the Globes kudocast, and that’s a wide net.

Because there’s no busier time at the box office than the end of the year, any advantage helps in breaking through the competitive noise. And landing among the Globes categories can only increase a film’s profile.

From that perspective, the big winners this year — regardless of who eventually wins at the ceremony — look to be the Weinstein Co.’s The King’s Speech, Paramount/Relativity Media’s The Fighter and Fox Searchlight’s Black Swan, all of which earned multiple Globe mentions — as well as SAG Awards noms.

Combined with strong early performances in exclusive runs and great reviews, the noms put the three pics in the sweet zone. And their respective distributors will use the weekend after the Globe nominations to open or expand their films. For adult-leaning dramas launching in limited runs, “It’s a great way to advertise,” one veteran film marketer says.

Speech is expanding from 19 to 43 locations in the immediate wake of its seven Globe noms, the most for any film. Swan is upping its theater count from 90 to more than 900. And Fighter, which opened Dec. 10 in New York and L.A.,  is planning a nationwide expansion.

Globe nominations also will boost the limited openings of a couple of other films. Lionsgate’s Rabbit Hole, taking advantage of Nicole Kidman’s drama actress nom, is bowing in L.A., New York and Toronto, and ATO has set up L.A. and New York openings for Casino Jack, whose star, Kevin Spacey, copped a comedy actor mention.

Other titles that surely will tout their Globe credentials include Sony Pictures Classics’ The Illusionist, which opens Christmas Day and was nominated for animated feature, and Roadside Attractions’ Biutiful, which landed a nom in the foreign-language category and opens Dec. 29.

When it comes to movies positioned as more commercial titles, the Globe noms have less impact, but there are exceptions. All the Globes attention lavished on Fighter could help Paramount and Relativity attract women, a demo that otherwise might view the boxing film strictly as a sports drama.

Sony and the producers of James L. BrooksHow Do You Know lobbied hard for a best picture nom in the comedy/musical category but came up empty-handed. That film went into nationwide release ahead of Christmas weekend, and Sony had hoped a Globe nomination could help it the way a comedy nom last year boosted the romantic comedy It’s Complicated, which opened Christmas Day and grossed nearly $60 million by the end of the holidays.

On the other hand, not even the spotlight of the Golden Globes can resurrect some movies.

Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie’s The Tourist made a surprise appearance in the comedy/musical category, but considering the scathing reviews and tepid opening that greeted its debut during the Dec. 10 weekend, its domestic trajectory appears headed downhill. The unexpected Globe noms might help minimize the falloff the movie experiences during its second weekend, but for Depp and Jolie, the invitation to the party will have to suffice as its own reward.