Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Visual Effects, Oscars and the Box Office in 2013

Just as I did for 2012 films and 2011 films, I thought it would be interesting to track the average global box office grosses from this year's Academy Award nominees, per category.

This year's numbers, compared to the last two years, were heavily skewed by the box office behemoth "Gravity" which, tied with "American Hustle", earned more nominations than any other film. With a worldwide gross of nearly $700M, "Gravity" radically boosted the average box office of all 10 categories it was featured; compared to the last two years, this is anomalous.

For context, here are the top two nomination earners and their global box office take over the last three years:

86th Academy Awards
Gravity (10 noms, $695M), American Hustle (10 noms, $188M)

85th Academy Awards
Lincoln (12 noms, $204M), Life of Pi (11 noms, $548M)

84th Academy Awards
Hugo (11 noms, $83M) The Artist (10, $34M)

As a result, nearly all categories got a major boost from "Gravity"'s box office.  Even so, Best Picture's average went down a bit to $177M average (as opposed to 2012's $203M).

The Best Animated Feature's average box office was boosted by three megahits ("Despicable Me 2" ($970M), "Frozen" ($867M) and "The Croods" ($587M)), giving the category an average box office earning of $506M.

But at the top of the heap, yet again, is the visual effects category. Buoyed by "Gravity"'s giant earnings, the average visual effects Academy Award nominee earned $698M globally.  Even with earning nearly $700M, "Gravity" is actually the third highest grossing film of the category, after "Iron Man 3" ($1.2B) and "The Hobbit 2" ($855M).

The five nominees for visual effects earned a total global box office gross of $3.5 billion.

Repeating what I've said in the past, this chart should surprise no one.  I wrote all my caveats and explanations in previous articles, so I won't rehash them here.  Put simply, the average box office earnings from 'the best' visual effects films films far exceeds any other discipline's 'best' work.

I wrote this concerning the 2011 box office when I charted the box office averages for the 84th Academy Awards, and unfortunately, this still is true.

It also illustrates the sad state of the visual effects community. The average Oscar nominee for visual effects made over $662 million globally, and yet our industry has relatively little power in Hollywood.

Showing my work, CSV of this year's data.

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