This year, the Academy Awards saw a 16 percent decline in viewership this year. Despite the fact that fewer people are watching the ceremony, the award itself is still one of Hollywood's most effective box office promotion tools, industry analysts say.
In fact, just about all of the major category winners saw a huge bump in sales from the prior week.
When the nominees for best picture were announced on January 15, the eight nominees—Sony Classics' "Whiplash," IFC's "Boyhood," Focus Features' "The Theory of Everything," Fox Searchlight's "Birdman," and "The Grand Budapest Hotel," Paramount Pictures' "Selma," Weinstein's "The Imitation Game" and Warner Brothers' "American Sniper"—had collectively earned about $207 million in domestic receipts.
Now, that sum has now skyrocketed by more than 200 percent to near $640 million, according to Box Office Mojo data.
"They get a free wave of promotion when the nominees are announced, and another wave after the ceremony," said Phil Contrino, chief analyst at BoxOffice.com. "If a film happens to be released in the sweet spot, which is somewhere in the middle of those two events, it can be a very valuable."
Contrino said "American Sniper" was a great example of a perfectly timed theatrical release. It expanded in theaters a day after the nominations were announced and grossed $107.2 million over a three-day weekend.