Oscar bump: 42.3%
Box office post-award: $18.6 million
Box office pre-award: $25.4 million
Total box office gross (inflation adjusted): $87.12 million
Limited release date: Nov. 20, 1987
Wide release date: April 15, 1988
The film with the biggest “Oscar Bump” in recent history is Columbia Pictures’ “The Last Emperor.” The story is a biography of Pu Yi, the last emperor of China, an enigmatic leader who yearned for a simpler life away from the responsibilities of power bestowed on him at age 3. The film follows Pu Yi in flashbacks and flash-forwards detailing his life as a shut-in in the Forbidden City. The plot twists from his role as emperor, his exile, his years as a playboy, and his final days as a gardener in the Botanical Gardens of Peking.
The movie won all nine of its academy nominations, which bolstered its box office sales by a whopping 42 percent, or $18 million. Although it only opened in eight theaters during its limited release, the film was screening in 371 theaters prior to its nomination. Its wide release was four days after the awards in April, almost five months after its limited release, screening in 877 theaters. It accumulated 73 percent of its total box office earnings during this time.