Photo: Getty Images/Jason Merritt
While the Oscar statue costs roughly $500 to make, being nominated for it can translate to a big payday for the movie, its stars and those associated with making the film.Winning it can bring in much more. The Oscar is an iconic symbol of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences brand that serves to validate both the movie and talent involved in making the film.
Marketing the films
When used in marketing campaigns, this validation stamp increases the desire of moviegoers to see the films and the talent being honored. It also keeps the movies in theatres longer boosting box office receipts. And it substantially increases DVD, streaming, download, and cable TV revenues.
Advertising during the broadcast
Advertising on the Oscars broadcast brings in a big payday for the network that carries the show. This year, most of the commercial time sold out before the Christmas Holiday — commanding $1.7 million to $1.85 million per 30-second spot for the February 24th telecast. That was good news for Disney who owns ABC, the network that will be airing this year’s Oscars — the 85th Academy Awards.
Payoff for winning
According to IBISWorld, the best picture winners overs the past five years had an average production budget of $17 million and earned an average of $82.5 million at the box-office – generating a 485.6 per cent margin. Winners earned…
- $35.2 million in box office revenue, or 42.8%, before being nominated;
- $29.4 million, or 35.6%, after they were nominated;
- $17.9 million, or 21.7% after winning the Oscar.
In 2010, The King’s Speech, garnered $138 million in domestic box office – over $100 million more than was expected before it won. In Hollywood, talent agents and managers estimate that their clients will get a 20% boost in pay for their next film if they win the award for Best Actor or Actress.
Nominations pay off too
Even though winning the Oscar does wonders for movie careers and box office receipts, there is often considerable benefit in being nominated. Per IBISWorld, movies nominated for the Best Picture Oscar from the 2007 to 2011 awards seasons had an average production budget of $42.1 million and earned $104.2 million in box-office revenue for a 247.2 per cent margin. Nominees earned…
- $81.2 million in box office revenue, or 77.8%, before being nominated;
- $19 million, or 18.2%, after they were nominated;
- $4.2 million, or 21.7% after the awards show.
The King’s Speech was initially projected to gross $30 million worldwide. After receiving 12 Academy Award nominations, the revised estimate was over $200 million. After winning the Oscar for best picture, its worldwide box office surpassed $427 million with domestic DVD sales adding nearly another $32 million.
According to Reuters, an Academy Award nomination can boost ticket sales by one-third and cause a jump in the DVD sales of movies no longer in theatres. When you add downloads, streaming and cable TV revenues, the monetary rewards from receiving a nomination can be substantial.
Turning nominations into profits
Most important of all, award nominations can mean the difference between profits and bankruptcy for some movie productions. This is why marketers go to great lengths to promote their movies for the Oscars long before the nominations are announced in January. They spend from hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars promoting their films for an Oscar nomination.
It is reported that Harvey and Bob Weinstein spent millions promoting The King’s Speech and timed the release of the film to accelerate the Oscar buzz and boost the number of nominations. While actual figures are a highly-guarded secret in Hollywood, some peg the promotional investment in the King’s Speech to rival the $15 million the Weinsteins spent on promoting Shakespeare in Love in 1999.
Marketing investment in nominations pay off
The Oscar marketing strategy paid off again last year. The Weinstein marketing magic is credited with catapulting The Artist—a silent, black & white, French film—to 10 nominations and 5 Oscars including best picture. The previous year, the King’s Speech’s had 12 nominations to put it ahead of the field, and helped it to win. In fact, over the past 20 years, the film with the most nominations has won 15 times. This bodes well for this year’s two top nominees — Lincoln (12 nominations) and Life of Pi (11 nominations)—even though many are betting on Argo and Zero Dark 30.
The winner is…
Whoever wins the awards, one thing is certain – the Oscar brand is alive and well. Veteran movie marketers that know how to capitalise on the brand image of this $500ish statue will enhance their own brands and make a lot more money.
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