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January 26, 2009

Oscar pics make bank

G258258ba065f050f3b22e0e65b8304d70a9c4365101e18 It's no "Paul Blart: Mall Cop," but, hey, what is?

That little Kevin James comedy, to give it its due, has racked up two No. 1 weekends and $64.8 million in total boxoffice. Not too shabby for a story about a pudgy Segway-riding security guard who takes a lot of pratfalls.

But Universal's biopic "Frost/Nixon" might've just been the biggest winner at the multiplex this weekend, adding nearly 1,000 screens and seeing its bottom line jump 351%. So that's what an Oscar nomination can do.

Admittedly, we're not talking "Underworld: Rise of the Lycans" kind of grosses here. "Frost/Nixon" added $3 million this weekend and now has a cume of $12 million.

The other Oscar-nominated films also saw the boxoffice bump right away as most expanded their footprint at the multiplex. "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," the only one of the five nominees that has already passed $100 million, added $6 million more. (Turning a profit may be another story, but audiences continue to show up).

"The Wrestler" pulled in $6,537 per screen for a total that's now $9.5 million, and it's just now reached about 570 screens. With weekend numbers, "Milk" is now at $21.6 million. The most limited release picture, Holocaust-themed "The Reader," has made $9.7 million so far and likely will see that figure increase dramatically with its wide release on Friday.

And here's what 10 Oscar nominations can do: "Slumdog Millionaire" pulled in $10.6 million this weekend, during which the Mumbai love story also won the Producers Guild of America award and the Screen Actors Guild ensemble cast honor. 

That's about one-fifth of its total take. Cume is now $55.9 million and set to go much, much higher.


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Oscar Contenders

  • So "The Dark Knight" didn't make it into the final five after all, never mind that critical and popular support. Let's just call the comic-inspired mega-hit "The Biggest Snubee."

    Here are the best picture contenders in a race that, two weeks away from the Oscars, seems to be a foregone conclusion ("Slumdog") unless there's a come-from-behind possibility ("The Reader" anyone?)

    "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," with Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett; the politically timely "Milk;" rags-to-riches fairy tale, "Slumdog Millionaire," Holocaust best-seller-based drama "The Reader," and Watergate-era biopic "Frost/Nixon."

    Could "Button" and "Slumdog" split the vote, allowing another film to take the prize? Doesn't seem likely. After having clung to "Button" for months as what we thought would be the Academy voters' top vhoice, our money's now on "Slumdog." Momentum can't be ignored.

    Watch this blog for updates, ephemera and all manner of postulating.

Picture this

  • Mmmmm, chocolate Oscar. Not every star will walk away from the 81st annual Academy Awards with a trophy, but if they hit the high-profile Governor's Ball they can have pastry chef Sherry Yard's gold-dusted candy version. Also on the menu from celeb chef Wolfgang Puck is tuna tartare in sesame miso cones, chopped Chino Farms vegetable salad with ginger soy vinaigrette, Maine lobster and caviar. Serve it up! (Getty Images)

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