Why people don’t go out to see Oscar-nominated films anymoreBy Cameron Johnson | 02/28/2017 11:04pm
During his opening monologue of Sunday night’s Academy Awards ceremony, host Jimmy Kimmel, after receiving merely a few chuckles toward a joke he had made about the Oscar nominated movie Moonlight, disappointingly asked the audience, “You didn’t see it, did you?”
While Kimmel was clearly joking with the audience, he wasn’t the slightest bit wrong. Moonlight, the film that would, rather dramatically, eventually become best picture had, before Sunday Night, earned a little over 22 Million dollars at the box office, making it the 136th highest grossing movie of the year and placing it among the ranks of films like Bad Santa 2, Fifty Shades of Black, and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. This problem was hardly limited to only Moonlight. When boxofficemojo.com did a study this year to determine the box office results of all of the Oscar nominees for best picture, they discovered that all nine films collectively earned 656 million dollars. When this same study was done in 2010, boxofficemojo.com found that the best picture nominees collectively earned $1.35 billion. Why were films of such critical esteem in 2016 watched by so few people? What could have forced these movies to earn less than half of what the same caliber of movie earned in 2010?
The answer lies in the fact that the film industry, in the past 10 years, has massively shifted to an industry dominated by franchise blockbusters like Star Wars, Marvel, Fast and the Furious, etc. These movies, while they are still somewhat critically acclaimed, value entertainment and excitement over pure quality, as they should. According to Theatrical Market Statistics on marketingcharts.com, the average American goes to the movies only five times a year, so Americans are looking for films that act as a grand-scale franchise event rather than a low budget independent film. With over 20 movies coming out last year that were considered to be some type of franchise film, Hollywood has given Americans just that. Because of this shift, the majority of top grossing films in Hollywood are now franchise films. Just this past year, 10 of the top 15 grossing films were all a part of some franchise, compared to just five in the year 2010. This box office domination by franchises in Hollywood has left these Oscar nominated, critically acclaimed films without a significant box office hit in years.
The film industry is more profitable today than it has ever been, and we have more movies coming out now than ever before. However, they are the main reason that Oscar nominated movies are longer viewed by moviegoers.