Academy Award winner for best picture ‘Moonlight’ is expanding to 1,500 screens this weekend
Moonlight may have won the Oscar but it has still been seen by far fewer people than any of the nine best picture nominees including box office hits La La Land, Hidden Figures and Arrival.
But winning the big prize at the Academy Awards has positioned the gay-themed drama to benefit at the box office.
Moonlight will expand onto about 1,500 screens this weekend in the US and Canada – its widest release yet.
The film was playing in just 585 locations last weekend and has just been made available for streaming on demand.
‘This movie is now set up for this incredible wave that is not typical. This is a textbook scenario where the Oscar really is going to provide a nice boost,’ comScore Senior Analyst Paul Dergarabedian tells me.
Moonlight has so far grossed just $22.5 million but cost just $1.5 million to make.
Last year’s best picture winner, Spotlight, was expanded to more than 1,200 screens after its victory and went on to add another $5 million for a final total of $45 million in North America.
‘To get a big Oscar bounce in theaters, you are actually better off going into the Oscars without a lot of money in the bank yet,’ Dergarabedian says.
Moonlight also has an unprecedented intangible going for it: ‘Envelopegate.’
Best Picture presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway were given the wrong envelope which resulted in La La Land erroneously being announced the winner.
The producers took to the stage and gave their speeches only to learn that Moonlight was the true winner.
‘This La La Land-Moonlight “Envelopegate” put both movies more on the map and in front of a more mainstream audience,’ Dergarabedian says.
‘That story was everywhere. Suddenly Moonlight’s profile went up and this film was placed on the world stage. That could make a difference.’