Oscar-nomination afterglow for this year’s Best Picture contenders was largely felt more in the home than it was at the box office, with a majority of titles already available to be viewed on the couch except for 20th Century Studios/Disney’s 3D title Avatar: The Way of Water.
Since noms were first announced on January 24 and through March 5, Samba TV, which measures U.S. viewership for streaming, reports that Paramount’s Top Gun: Maverick was the most watched of the Oscar’s Best Pic nominees, clocking 2.4 million U.S. households on Paramount+. The second most watched Best Pic this year post-noms was Warner Bros’ Elvis, with 1.8M.
However, in terms of lifetime viewership among all Best Pic nominees, Elvis wins hands-down with a household viewership near 9M. Note that Elvis has been streaming longer, having dropped September 2 on HBO Max after hitting theaters June 24 making $151M at the domestic box office and $287.3M worldwide.
By comparison, Top Gun: Maverick, the second highest-grossing movie in 2022 with $718.7M domestic, $1.49 billion worldwide, didn’t hit Paramount+ until December 22 following a near seven-month theatrical window after hitting theaters over Memorial Day weekend. Elvis has eight Oscar nominations, while Top Gun: Maverick has six. Paramount and Warner Bros didn’t report box office grosses for their respective titles during the post-nom phase.
The Oscar frontrunner with 11 noms and with top prize wins at the PGAs, the DGAs, SAG Awards and Independent Spirit Awards, A24’s Everything Everywhere All at Once pulled in 1.1M in the post-nom frame for a lifetime viewership of 3M (that’s for those who watched it via a Showtime add-on on Paramount+). The martial arts fantasy written and directed by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert also over-indexed in Asian American households by 23%, per Samba. The movie, which premiered at SXSW a year ago, is A24’s highest-grossing ever with $73.2M stateside, $104.8M worldwide. A24 took Everything Everywhere All at Once wide in theaters again following the noms and grew its domestic box office by 4%, or $3M, for the period between January 24-March 7.
Samba TV’s analysis is pulled from a nationally weighted household panel that measures more than 25 million connected TVs in the U.S. in both linear and streaming TV consumption. The data firm also drills down into local metro viewership, and also surveyed the Oscar-voter-rich Los Angeles market.
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Top Gun: Maverick, Samba found, also drove the largest percentage of its viewership post-nominations (41%) of all other contenders. Tom Cruise’s highest-grossing movie of all time under-indexed in Samba Los Angeles TV homes, whereas Steven Spielberg’s autobiopic The Fabelmans, which has seven noms, over-indexed by the highest margin of any film (60%) in the Los Angeles DMA. The family drama’s U.S.-Canada box office grew 14% or $2.1M post-nominations for current total of $17.2M. Samba measured over 300,000 households watching Fabelmans on PVOD.
Samba also said that Focus Features’ Cate Blanchett-starring Tár, with its 2-hour, 38-minute running time, also overperformed in LA; however, overall it only pulled in less than 500,000 households in its viewership on Peacock since the Todd Field-directed drama dropped on the service January 27. The movie, which has six Oscar noms, saw a 12% bump post-noms at the domestic box office, good for a current running total of $6.7M.
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Even though United Artists Releasing’s Women Talking saw the biggest percent surge post-noms at +325% — the studio took the movie adapted and directed by Sarah Polley wide theatrically during the Oscar period — Avatar: The Way of Water made the most money post-noms with $69.3M, or +11.5%. It was always expected that it would make the most money, not so much because of Oscar noms (though everything helps in regards to foot traffic) but rather its inherent blockbuster nature. Sitting currently at $671.6M stateside, Avatar 2 will pass Cameron’s own Titanic lifetime domestic gross of $674.2M this weekend to become the eighth highest-grossing movie ever in the U.S. and Canada.
Other Best Picture noms that made minimal gains at the box office include Neon’s Triangle of Sadness (+7%, or $300K, for $4.5M domestic off three noms). Searchlight’s The Banshees of Inisherin saw a 12% uptick, or $1.1M, for a $10.5M domestic gross off nine Oscar nominations. Netflix’s German World War I movie All Quiet on the Western Front, with nine nominations, is the third most-viewed movie on streaming among Oscar Best Pics with 3.2M households. The movie received a limited theatrical release with no grosses reported, as is Netflix’s practice.
With not a single Best Picture nominee featuring a Black actor or actress in a leading role, Samba noticed that Oscar-nominated films under-index in Black household streaming viewership post-nomination.
“While Everything Everywhere All at Once has emerged as the clear front-runner, if streaming audiences decided the 95th Academy Award winner for Best Picture today, American households are strongly leaning toward Elvis and Top Gun: Maverick based on their viewing preferences,” said Cole Strain, Samba TV’s VP Measurement Products. “Top Gun: Maverick scored the highest percentage of its viewership after nominations were announced, while Elvis drove the highest lifetime viewership. The preferred choice of audiences in Los Angeles, a top DMA where many Academy voters reside, however, was The Fabelmans, perhaps illustrating an intriguing disconnect between those who comprise the Academy and the majority of the country.
“If Academy voters have their way,” he added, “we might see another Steven Spielberg win, as Los Angeles seems to have embraced The Fabelmans by the widest margin of all the contenders.”