U.S. News

Oscars May Boost 'The Departed' DVD Sales for Time Warner


The Warner Bros. film "The Departed" could see a financial boost as soon as Monday morning from its Sunday-night win as best picture at the 79th annual Academy Awards.

The film was released on DVD just two weeks ago, the third of the best-picture nominees to hit retail shelves, and its Oscar buzz is likely to lead to increased sales.

"Little Miss Sunshine," from Fox Searchlight, a News Corp. company, and "Babel" from Paramount Vantage, a division of Viacom Inc., have also been released on DVD.

Films can also see a theater box-office bump as large $50 million from Oscar-generated heat.

As expected, Time Warner was the big winner Sunday. Nine films it has a financial interest in won Oscars, including four for "The Departed."

Warner Bros. scored an upset in the animated feature category, winning the Oscar for "Happy Feet." The film, about singing and dancing penguins, beat the favorite, "Cars," from Pixar Animation Studios, a unit of Walt Disney .

"Pan's Labyrinth," distributed by Time Warner division Picturehouse, won three awards, but failed to capture the best foreign language film category. That honor went to "The Lives of Others," which was distributed by Sony Pictures Classics, a unit of Sony .

Paramount won six awards, including two for the documentary "An Inconvenient Truth," about former vice president Al Gore's efforts to fight global warming.

Jennifer Hudson won for best supporting actress for her role in "Dreamgirls," which was produced by DreamWorks and distributed by Paramount, both Viacom units.

Fox Searchlight, the specialty film division of News Corp.'s 20th Century Fox, snagged three high-profile awards, including a best supporting-actor win for Alan Arkin and best screenplay for Michael Arndt, both for the quirky road film "Little Miss Sunshine."

Fox Searchlight also distributed the film "The Last King of Scotland," for which Forest Whitaker won the award for best actor.

Disney won two awards, including best-actress honors for "The Queen, which was distributed by Disney unit Miramax. Disney also won an award for visual effects for its "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest."

Studios spend millions of dollars touting the nominations and wins at the Oscars, along with the Golden Globes, because of the financial benefits they can bring.

Several films did get a big financial boost after the Golden Globe awards were announced last month. But this year those gains were mainly because studios had been playing some films in a small number of theaters in key cities, then greatly expanded the run after the Globes were announced.