‘Green Book’ is Finally a Box Office Hit. All It Took Was a Few Oscars

It’s been a long, strange trip at the box office for Green Book.

Over the weekend, following the road movie’s Oscar triumph, Green Book enjoyed the most successful Best Picture-bump in nearly a decade. As Billboard notes, the 1960s-set drama made $4.7 million, the biggest post-trophy tally for a Best Picture winner since 2010’s The King’s Speech.

Green Book has made more than $75 million in the U.S., according to Box Office Mojo. When the film opened wide last November, that figure was all but unthinkable and barely placed in the box office top ten—an ominous sign for a movie that had recently won a major audience award at the Toronto Film Festival, and was widely seen as an awards contender. Over the next several weeks and months, even as Green Book landed on some year-end lists, the story of a white club-bouncer (played by Viggo Mortensen) who travels through the American south with an African-American pianist (Mahershala Ali) struggled to make it past the $30 million mark in the United States.

But the film stayed in theaters long enough to receive five Academy Award nominations, including nods for Mortensen and Ali. Slowly, Green Book‘s box office trajectory reversed, with the movie pulling in several million each weekend, despite the fact it was made available to purchase digitally in February.

The movie’s must-see allure was likely boosted by multiple behind-the-scenes controversies, including an online uproar after it was discovered that co-screenwriter and co-producer Nick Vallelonga had tweeted false information about the 9/11 attacks. Green Book‘s depiction of racial realities in the 1960s also troubled many cultural critics.

But the movie was a hit at last month’s Academy Awards telecast, where it won trophies for not only Best Picture, but also Best Supporting Actor (for Ali) and Best Adapted Screenplay. That prompted distributor Unversal to more than double the amount of screens exhibiting the film, giving the film one of its highest weekends in four months, and giving the studio the chance to earn a bit more green before the film heads to home video later this month.

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