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Are These ‘Best Picture’ Oscar Nominees Good Investments?

MAD MAX: FURY ROAD, Tom Hardy, 2015. ph: Jasin Boland/©Warner Bros. Pictures/courtesy EverettMAD MAX: FURY ROAD, Tom Hardy, 2015. ph: Jasin Boland/©Warner Bros. Pictures/courtesy Everett
Mad Max: Fury Road, Tom Hardy, 2015Photograph by Jasin Boland — Warner Bros. Pictures/Everett Collection

Marketing costs and opaque accounting can make it hard to tell whether hot-ticket movies are profitable. Here’s our take on which 2016 best picture nominees are making their financial backers happy. (All box office figures as of Jan. 19.)

CASHING IN

The Big Short

THE BIG SHORT, from left: Jeremy Strong, Rafe Spall, Hamish Linklater, Steve Carell, Jeffry THE BIG SHORT, from left: Jeremy Strong, Rafe Spall, Hamish Linklater, Steve Carell, Jeffry Griffin, Ryan GoslingPhotograph by Jaap Buitendijk — Paramount/Everett Collection

Global box office: $70 million

Adam McKay’s dark-comedy account of the U.S. financial crisis actually made more money internationally than in the U.S. the week after Oscar nominations were announced.


Bridge of Spies

, 2015. ph: Jaap Buitendijk/©Walt Disney Studios BRIDGE OF SPIES, from left: Mark Rylance, Tom HanksPhotograph by Jaap Buitendijk — Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures/Everett Collection

Global box office: $157 million

Steven Spielberg’s moody Cold War drama, made for about $40 million, has earned more than $50 million in Western Europe—and around $2 million in Russia. Détente, anyone?


Mad Max: Fury Road

, 2015. ph: Jasin Boland/©Warner Bros. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD, l-r: Tom Hardy, Charlize TheronPhotograph by Warner Bros/Everett Collection

Global box office: $376 million

The vehicular-mayhem adventure, which had a budget of $150 million, pulled in $222 million outside the U.S.—despite not having been released in China. That wasn’t enough to enable the movie to crack the global top 10 for 2015.


The Martian

, 2015. ph: Aidan Monaghan / TM & copyright © 20th Century Fox Film Corp. THE MARTIAN, Matt DamonPhotograph by 20thCentFox/Everett Collection

Global box office: $598 million

The best-performing movie among the Best Picture nominees, it opened on a whopping 3,854 screens. Some 62% of its total take came from outside the U.S., according to Box Office Mojo.


Room

, 2015. ph: George Kraychyk/©A24/courtesy Everett ROOM, from left: Brie Larson, Jacob TremblayPhotograph by George Kraychyk — A24/Everett Collection

Global box office: $6 million

As of nomination day, this drama was the sixth-lowest-grossing Best Picture nominee of the past 33 years, but it has a low budget to match, with three production companies sharing the risk.

SWEATING IT OUT

Brooklyn

, 2015. ph: Kerry Brown / TM & copyright © Fox BROOKLYN, from left: Saoirse Ronan, Emory CohenPhotography by Fox Searchlight/Everett Collection

Global box office: $25 million

Backers of this coming-of-age tale included the Irish Film Board and BBC Films. Its marketing budget was reportedly unusually high for an indie, but strong results abroad could make it profitable.


The Revenant

. ph: Kimberley French/TM and Copyright ©20th Century Fox Film THE REVENANT, Leonardo DiCaprio, 2015Photograph by Kimberley French — TM and Copyright 20th Century Fox Film Corp. All rights reserved./Everett Collection

Global box office: $156 million

It earned more Oscar nominations (12) than any other movie—and it needed the resulting box-office bump, since production costs alone (not including marketing) ballooned past $130 million.


Spotlight

SPOTLIGHT, from left: Rachel McAdams, Mark Ruffalo, Brian d'Arcy James, Michael Keaton, John SPOTLIGHT, from left: Rachel McAdams, Mark Ruffalo, Brian d’Arcy James, Michael Keaton, John SlatteryPhotograph by Kerry Hayes — Open Road Films/Everett Collection

Global box office: $31 million

This movie’s tight focus on a very specific American milieu—journalists and Catholics in Boston—could make it a tough sell abroad. Its production costs were an estimated $20 million.

For more, read “How to Make a Profit in the New Hollywood.”

A version of this article appears in the February 1, 2016 issue of Fortune.