Media Money with Julia Boorstin

Oscar Snubs, Box Office Winners And Hotel Movies


The media have been flooded with articles and blogs complaining about the films, filmmakers and actors the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences snubbed this year.

Everybody's got an opinion and took a vote.

"The Dark Knight," was voted the most snubbed for best picture (by the 3,235 respondents), 46 percent voting that it should have been nominated.

Coming in second, Clint Eastwood in "Gran Torino," 28 percent saying he deserved a Best Actor nod.

Then the votes drop off: 11 percent of those polled say Leonardo DiCaprio deserves a nomination in the Best Actor category for "Revolutionary Road."

Fitting with frustration over the Dark Knight's lack of best picture nom, 8 percent said Christopher Nolan deserves a Best Director nomination for the film. And 7 percent were surprised that Bruce Springsteen's Original Song for "The Wrestler," didn't get any love from the Academy. I'm surprised too- if he had been nominated he'd probably have performed, which always makes for a fun Oscars interlude.

Does Academy acclaim reflect box office success? In a word: No.

The most successful nominee for Best Picture is "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," from Paramount and Warner Bros , which has brought in $111 million at the U.S. box office so far. With just half that gross, $56 million, Fox Searchlight's "Slumdog Millionaire" comes in second. Then the performance of the Best Picture nominees continues to drop off — Focus Feature's "Milk," with $21.6 million, and Universal's "Frost/Nixon" with $12 million. The Reader from the Weinstein Company hasn't even grossed $10 million.

Think about the contrast of the reach of a film like "The Reader" with "The Dark Knight," which brought in $532 million at the U.S. Box office. It seems more people would want to tune into the Oscars if more popular movies were nominated. Certainly the Academy isn't considering such things as its members vote.

Meanwhile movie studios are tallying their success in hotel rooms in 2008.

LodgeNet Interactive Corporation , which provides movies to hotel rooms among other places, just released its top selling on-demand movies last year. Warner Bros. "I am Legend" was the most-bought movie, with "American Gangster" (NBC Universal," second and 27 Dresses (Fox) third.

Lodge Net reports that NBC's parent NBC Universal was the top performing studio in hotel rooms in 2008, with Warner Brothers a close second.

(*Note NBC Universal like CNBC is owned by parent company, General Electric)

In contrast, looking at the overall box office for 2008, Warner Bros. had the largest marketshare of the U.S. Box office (18.4 percent) while Universal came in fourth, with just 11 percent. Lodge Net attributes NBC Universal's success to a combination of good release timing and the fact that Universal put together customized promos for these on-demand films.

This is a great ancillary revenue stream for the studios and you can see why they try to invest in in-room success.

Questions?  Comments?