It costs big money to run the Oscar race. Many people don’t realize all the money it takes to market an award winner.
Here are some of the money figures which the studios are spending to market an Oscar contender:
- The Departed: $40.3 million
- Little Miss Sunshine: $11.9 million
- The Queen: $14.5 million
- Babel: $16.4 million
- Blood Diamond: $19.9 million
- Pursuit of Happyness: $10.6 million
- The Devil Wears Prada: $22.4 million
And keep in mind these figures are only from January to November. This doesn’t include those big expensive ads in Variety, the Academy DVD screeners…etc
As Chris over at Movie Marketing Madness pointed out, The Departed has cost Warner an estimated $155 million so far ($90 million budget + $40 million marketing + $25 million in Oscar expenses). The film has grossed $130 million at the box office (half of which goes to the exhibitor). Chris theorizes that Warner is “likely just about to or just recently has broken even” but that’s actually far from the truth. Even considering the DVD sales, the film won’t be profitable for a while (depending on Oscar buzz to puch home video sales and rentals).
The truth is some of these Oscar-targetted films are bigger bets than the $200 blockbuster. You not only need to front a budget, but market an award winner. And while the money adds up fast, if it doesn’t earn a gold statuette, it can result in a bigger loss than you would normally think.