Lenny Abrahamson's acclaimed indie drama Room had all but disappeared from theaters by mid-January, earning $5.1 million from select theaters since opening at the U.S. specialty box office Oct. 16.
But after landing four nominations, including best picture, when the Oscar nominations were announced on Jan. 14, the movie got a second life and expanded nationwide for the first time — adding $7.5 million to its coffers through Feb. 21. Fifty-nine percent of its gross came post-nominations, proving that a coveted best-nomination can be worth its weight in gold, particularly for smaller titles struggling to compete with more mainstream fare.
"This year seems to be stronger than usual in that regard," says comScore box-office analyst Paul Dergarabedian. "Many of the films in the best-picture race have all to varying degrees been able to make the most of Oscar attention, particularly in the immediate wake of the nominations announcements."
The big exception was Mad Max: Fury Road, which was long gone from theaters, while Bridge of Spies and The Martian were headed out or on DVD.
As a class, the eight best picture contenders have earned $772.6 million domestically through Sunday, Feb. 21, for an average of $96.6 million, one of the better showings in recent years. And that doesn't count international results. All grosses are through Feb. 21.