Globe nominees benefit long after the show is over

Fri Jan 15, 2010 2:58am EST
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By Alex Ben Block

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - One of the surprises when the Golden Globes nominations were announced in December 2008 was the attention given "The Reader," a Holocaust drama that earned nods for best picture, director, screenplay and actress Kate Winslet.

Although the film was not an overwhelming critical favorite, the Weinstein Co.'s strategy of opening it in limited release the weekend of the Globes announcement was prescient. It racked up more than $21,000 per screen in eight theaters that first weekend, jumping 615% to $1.2 million two weeks later and another 140% to $3.6 million two weeks after that.

"The Golden Globes is the first big awards nomination that comes in and it's a great platform," says David Glasser, Weinstein's president of international distribution. "They look at a picture early and it says, 'Hey, this is worth rooting for.'"

The nominations for "Reader" set it on a path to more than $100 million in worldwide box office, an impressive achievement for any drama, especially one with such a difficult theme. Winslet, who played a Nazi, also ended up winning an Oscar for best actress.

The timing of the Globes nominations -- just as awards season is kicking into high gear and before the all-important holiday moviegoing season -- has made the 90-member Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. hugely influential. But just how much is a Globes nomination worth?

It's hard to quantify, but for a film that is positioned properly after the nominations are announced, as "The Reader" was, or expanded to many more theaters after the exposure on the January telecast, there is clearly a major benefit.

That was the case for "Capote" in 2006. Even though the film scored only one Globes nomination, for Philip Seymour Hoffman as lead actor (drama), the film's box office take rose 50% in the week leading up to the show and then jumped 70% the week after Hoffman won, when Sony Pictures Classics tripled its screens.

"It causes your film to really hold up," says Sony Classics co-president Michael Barker. Still, he cautions, "I don't think it could ever cause your film to go into the stratosphere like the Oscars."   Continued...

<p>Best actress winner Kate Winslet of England poses with her Oscar for her role in "The Reader" backstage at the 81st Academy Awards in Hollywood, California, February 22, 2009. REUTERS/Mike Blake</p>