Every year around this time, much is made about the so-called “Oscar bump” and how much Hollywood studios can expect to rake in after a big win at the Academy Awards.
Evidence suggests that many Best Picture Oscar winners do indeed get a box office bump. But not all do.
This year’s field of Best Picture nominees features eight movies with widely variant box office performances, from 20th Century Fox’s (FOX) The Martian‘s leading $228 million in domestic gross to Room, which barely cracked $12.5 million in ticket sales.
In fact, of those eight films, five of them have made less at the box office than Crash, which is currently the fifth-lowest grossing film of the past four decades (in terms of sales adjusted for inflation). Walt Disney’s Bridge of Spies just barely slots below 2006 winner Crash‘s adjusted box office take of $74 million, though any of this year’s nominees could see a bump in sales if they take home the Academy’s top prize this Sunday night on ABC (DIS).
Room is not a favorite to win Best Picture this weekend, but it would be one of the lowest-grossing movies ever to win the award if it did triumph over The Revenant ($166 million) and Mad Max: Fury Road ($153 million). Spotlight is one of a handful of frontrunners for Best Picture and its box office gross is just $38 million — which would make it one of the lowest-grossing Best Picture winners.
Here are the five lowest-grossing Best Picture winners of the past forty years. One interesting thing to note:all of these films came out since 2000. That could be an indication that the Academy is getting better at recognizing smaller, independent movies since it first expanded the field of annual Best Picture nominees in 2010. All box-office figures are domestic totals adjusted for ticket price inflation, using BoxOfficeMojo.