Sony, Paramount and Weinstein Co. get Oscar boost

Tue Jan 24, 2012 8:35pm EST
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By Piya Sinha-Roy

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Sony Pictures received 21 Oscar nominations on Tuesday, making it the most-nominated studio for 2012's Oscars, but the key winner may be Harvey Weinstein's company as it rolls out new movies to capitalize on Academy Award media hype.

Oscar nominations typically help boost the box office of movies still playing in theaters because awards publicity heightens awareness by moviegoers.

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

The privately-held Weinstein Co., run by Harvey and his brother Bob who once led Miramax Films with best picture winners like "The English Patient," had 16 nominations including 10 for "The Artist" -- the second most-nominated movie next to Paramount Pictures' "Hugo," which garnered 11 Oscar nods.

With roughly five weeks until the Academy Awards on February 26, Weinstein Co. will be promoting the nods for "The Artist" and its other movies including "The Iron Lady," which earned Meryl Streep a nomination for best actress playing former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

The strategy of releasing movies to capitalize on Oscar nomination media coverage is nothing new, of course. Other companies such as Fox Searchlight with its award hopeful "The Descendants" follow the same marketing path.

Paramount with "Hugo" and Sony Pictures with "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" and a re-release of "Moneyball" similarly hope to lure audiences into theaters to see their films.

But Weinstein Co. is particularly good at the strategy. Last year, it received 12 nominations for "The King's Speech" and timed the release to nominations. The movie went on to win best picture and grossed $138 million at domestic box offices.   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>