There are 10 films in a race to pursue the highest Oscar award of the night: Best Picture. The winner will join the likes of incredible movies, like Parasite and Nomadland, to earn this prestigious title. However, a visible pattern with Best Picture nominees is that they do not have the most flourished box office that goes into the hundreds of millions.
Most nominees are typically indie, artsy films that do not attract a general audience, aside from the niche movie community. However, even the rise of streaming has changed the culture of movie-watching, which does not reflect the movie’s success. Of course, even in 2021, the movie industry still dealt with the presence of the pandemic, so even the box office is not the most stellar, as reported by Box Office Mojo.
10 The Power Of The Dog – $257,022
The Power of the Dog is considered one of the favorites to win the prestigious prizes of Oscar night, including Best Director for Jane Campion. However, a win for Best Picture would be a historic first for Netflix.
Even though the Netflix Western drama is the movie to watch at the Oscars, it also has the lowest box office numbers ($257,022) of all Best Picture nominees. However, these low box office numbers make sense since Netflix exclusively distributed and streamed The Power of the Dog. The box office projection alone accounts for just the international numbers, while none for domestic. Of course, The Power of the Dog ranks as one of the likeliest to win Best Picture.
9 Don’t Look Up – $791,863
Adam McKay’s Don’t Look Up is another Netflix film to earn an Oscar nomination for Best Picture. Like The Power of the Dog, this Earth-destroying comet film has low box office numbers ($791,863) due to its exclusive streaming on Netflix.
The box-office numbers are slightly higher than The Power of the Dog since the Don’t Look Up did play in some theaters before its release on Netflix. However, the majority of its box office also comes from international viewership.
8 CODA – $1,052,792
Like the Netflix-nominated movies, CODA exclusively streamed on AppleTV+, so it makes sense why the box-office numbers ($1.05M) are not immense. However, it did manage to pass the one million mark, with 100% of its box-office coming from the international market.
Of course, CODA has become the center of award season, winning the Writers Guild of America Awards and Producers Guild of America Awards. Given the film’s recent success during the award season, CODA has become the movie to beat for Best Picture, even a tight competition against Netflix’s The Power of the Dog.
7 Drive My Car – $5,324,449
In just the last few years, international movies like Roma and Parasite have piqued interest among the movie community, and this year’s entry is Japan’s Drive My Car. The Japanese road film received incredible praises for its artistry which increased its popularity in the last few months.
Drive My Car collected just over $5 million ($5.32M) at the box office. Of those numbers, 60.2% (over $3 million) come from the international markets, while the remaining box-office of 39.8% came from the United States. Of course, even these box-office are quite an incredible feat.
6 Licorice Pizza – $30,382,975
Paul Thomas Anderson returns to the award season with his latest coming-of-age romantic film, Licorice Pizza. Like the other movies nominated in Best Picture, Licorice Pizza is another to watch at the Oscars, with additional nominations like Best Original Screenplay.
Considering the film was released during the peak of the Omicron variant, Anderson’s latest drama still drew an impressive $30.3M at the box office. Of course, most came from domestic releases covering about 56.1% of the box office, while the remaining numbers come from international markets.
5 Nightmare Alley – $38,014,806
Guillermo del Toro reimagines William Lindsay Gresham’s Nightmare Alley doing what he does best with his gothic style trademarks. Of course, Nightmare Alley was a dark horse during award season by surprisingly grabbing a spot for Best Picture.
The neo-noir thriller compiled $38 million during the COVID rise of the Omicron variant. Unfortunately, even with this high box-office number for just COVID standard, Nightmare Alley was a flop after failing to recoup its $60 million budget. The international market covered 70.3% ($26.7 million), while the domestic market was only 29.7% of the final box office.
4 King Richard – $38,067,956
The Oscars love nominating inspirational biopics. However, this year, King Richard is the only clear-cut biopic nominated for Best Picture. The film follows the story of Richard Williams, who raised the world’s greatest tennis players, Venus and Serena Williams.
King Richard was one of the most critically-acclaimed films nominated for Best Picture, and deservingly so. Unfortunately, even the box office does not reflect on the incredible craft and filmmaking as the film only managed to grab just $38 million. Furthermore, it only topples Nightmare Alley by just a few thousand dollars. Of course, much of the underwhelming box office has to do with King Richard simultaneously releasing on HBO Max, which is unfortunate.
3 Belfast – $42,709,680
Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast is perhaps the most lighthearted entry in the Best Picture race. Belfast follows a young boy’s life during the tumult known as “The Troubles.” Instead of sulking in the depressing nature of the situation, the film presents the determination and growth of the boy’s family.
Like the other Best Picture nominees, Belfast compiled just $42.7M worldwide. However, only 21.3% of the box office came from domestic numbers. Most of the box office (78.7%) came from the international market, especially in the United Kingdom, but that makes quite a lot of sense. Of course, Belfast is one of Branagh’s best films to date.
2 West Side Story – $75,094,116
Steven Spielberg is one of the greatest directors ever as he created masterpieces from sci-fi to war dramas. His resume speaks volumes of his versatility as a director. So, it was no surprise that he took the challenge of not directing any musical but an adaptation of West Side Story.
Spielberg nailed the storytelling and atmosphere of West Side Story, with many critics and audiences even deeming the latest version even better than the 1960s version. However, even the musical underperformed at the box office, with just $75 million. Nevertheless, the box office does not undermine Spielberg’s accomplishments in crafting the famous musical.
1 Dune – $400,580,738
Denis Villeneuve accepted the challenge to adapt one of the most complex sci-fi novels into the big screen. And yet, he proved that he could beautifully execute Dune‘s content in a two-part film. Dune grabbed 10 nominations, including Best Picture, and is expected to sweep most technical awards.
Out of all the Best Picture nominees, Dune found the most success at the box office, with a whopping $400.5M. That is a whopping $325 million difference against West Side Story, the second highest-grossing film in the Best Picture category. Of course, 2021’s Dune is only a part 1 of a part 2 saga in which the upcoming sequel will release in October 2023.
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