Even Jimmy Kimmel admits it: The best picture nominees this year just weren’t bankable.
“In fact, of the nine best picture nominees, only two of them made more than $100 million,” he said during his opening monologue at the Oscars on Sunday night, teeing up a joke about Vice President Mike Pence.
The two exceptions that Kimmel referred to were the subversive horror movie “Get Out” and the war epic “Dunkirk,” which each pulled in more than $175 million during their domestic box office runs, according to Box Office Mojo, which tracks movie earnings data.
But both of those movies were also released several months before any other nominee. The only other nominated movie that came close to breaking $100 million was Steven Spielberg’s historical newspaper drama “The Post.” Even that film fell about $20 million short.
The weeks after the nominees are announced can sometimes bring a box office bump for the award-worthy films. The nine best picture contenders this year made a collective $126 million domestically after they were nominated, according to Box Office Mojo. That’s 18% of their combined box office totals.
“There’s no film this year that’s really benefited hugely from the Oscar nominations,” said Jeff Bock, senior box office analyst at Exhibitor Relations, in an interview with CNN late last week.
Bock said one reason could be that no single Oscar film dominated the awards conversation this year.
“The Shape of Water,” which won best picture, picked up only three other wins despite being nominated for 13 Oscars. That movie has grossed about $57 million domestically since it was released, about half after its nomination.
The Oscars have for years rewarded smaller, more prestigious movies instead of the blockbusters that draw big audiences.
For example, none of the best picture nominees came close to earning as much as “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” ($619 million) or “Wonder Woman” ($413 million). “Star Wars” was nominated for a handful of technical categories and original score, while “Wonder Woman” received no nominations at all.
The absence of big box office winners probably helps explain lower ratings. This year’s Academy Awards were watched by about 26.5 million people — the lowest in the show’s history.
— CNN’s Frank Pallotta contributed to this report.