Sony, Paramount and Weinstein Co. get Oscar boost

Tue Jan 24, 2012 2:51pm EST
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By Piya Sinha-Roy

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Movie studio Sony Pictures Entertainment received 21 Oscar nominations on Tuesday, fending off stiff competition from rival companies Paramount Pictures and The Weinstein Co. for Academy Award nods, which can boost box office and DVD sales.

Sony Pictures Entertainment, a unit of Sony Corp and parent for Sony Pictures Classics, Sony Pictures Releasing and Columbia Pictures, picked up six nominations for "Moneyball" and five for "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" among its nods.

"What was wonderful about this year is that we got to make a bunch of movies that are not usually the kind of movies that are a studios' bread and butter, and all of them paid off this year and that's really gratifying," said Amy Pascal, co-chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment, citing "Dragon Tattoo" and "Moneyball" as "not normal studio movies."

Oscars nominations typically help boost revenues of movies that are still playing at box offices because awards publicity heightens awareness by casual moviegoers.

The studios supplement their marketing by leveraging the prestige that comes with a nod for the world's top film honors, and Oscars help boost sales of DVDs and licensing fees for future television airings.

While Sony Pictures led with 21 nominations, Paramount's "Hugo" scored the most nods of any single film with 11.

The film, which has a reported production budget estimated at $150 million, has amassed only $55 million at U.S. and Canadian box offices since its release in November 2011, and $27.3 million in overseas ticket sales.

But producer Graham King noted "Hugo" is still in theaters, has not played in many international markets, and the acclaim from Oscar nods should lead to its long life in libraries.   Continued...

<p>Cast members Daniel Craig (R) and Rooney Mara pose with director David Fincher (L) during the media presentation of their movie "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" in Madrid January 4, 2012. REUTERS/Andrea Comas</p>