‘Green Book’ enjoys biggest Oscar nominations bounce at box office

Actor Mahershala Ali talks during a news conference to discuss the movie “Green Book” at the Toronto International Film Festival in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Reuters pic)

LOS ANGELES: Oscar-nominated dramedy “Green Book” has turned Hollywood awards race publicity into more box-office gold than each of the seven other films in the best-picture contest.

The road-trip movie about race relations in the segregated US South of the 1960s had collected more than US$127.1 million at global box offices as of Monday, according to estimates released on Tuesday by website Box Office Mojo.

Nearly two-thirds of that sum – US$82 million – came after Oscar nominations were announced on Jan 22.

That topped the US$55.8 million boost for 21st Century Fox’s rock biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

The story of late Queen frontman Freddie Mercury has grabbed a much larger total of US$854.3 million, three-fourths of it outside the United States and Canada.

Movie studios execute carefully crafted release strategies and marketing campaigns leading up to the Oscars, hoping the prestige of the nominations will draw audiences to theatres.

Comcast’s Universal Pictures, for example, debuted “Green Book” in about 1,000 domestic theatres in November.

That number had been slashed nearly in half just ahead of the announcement of this year’s Oscar contenders.

After the movie landed five Oscar nominations, Universal expanded the number of locations playing “Green Book” to more than 2,600 by early February.

Backers of “Green Book” also ploughed US$1.4 million into national television ads after the nominations through Monday, according to data measurement firm iSpot.

That came in second among best-picture nominees to the US$2.2 million to advertise “Vice,” a political satire from Annapurna Pictures.

The highest-grossing movie among the eight best-picture nominees is “Black Panther” from Walt Disney’s Marvel Studios.

“Black Panther” was 2018’s second-highest grossing movie worldwide with US$1.3 billion in global ticket sales.

It left theatres long before Oscars season.

It is unclear how much the 10 nominations for Netflix’s “Roma,” a foreign-language film about a Mexican housekeeper, boosted its audience.

Netflix has declined to release ticket sales data for “Roma,” which has been playing in a more limited range of theatres since November and is currently in 74 US locations.

Major US theatre chains refuse to show Netflix movies because the company refuses to wait the traditional three months before making its films available outside of theatres.

“Roma” was released on Netflix’s streaming service in December.

The best-picture winner will be announced at the Academy Awards ceremony on Sunday.