News Corp. (NASDAQ:NWSA) (NASDAQ:NWS) owns Fox Entertainment Group, which is the parent company of Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, which is the distributor for, among many other films, Lincoln. Heard of it?
Lincoln had an estimated budget of $65 million, and as of December 30, 2012, had grossed over $132 million. All things considered, that’s a tidy profit right there. Sweetening the deal is an Oscar nomination for Best Picture.
Like the Golden Globes, the Oscars are more than the recognition of artistic achievement. They are a blazing badge of endorsement from a discerning consumer group that says: “Hey, everyone, this movie is worth spending a few bucks on.” When the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences shines a positive light on a movie, sales inevitably go up, and stay in theaters longer.
The films get a “nice little bump,” according to Phil Contrino, editor of Boxoffice.com. Contrino wrote an article pegging Lincoln as one of the films with a lot to gain from the Oscar nomination, particularly because the film has yet to be released in key overseas markets such as Italy, Germany, and the United Kingdom (which everyone knows is just dying to see a film about the American Civil War.)
Contrino thinks “$175 million looks like a sure thing,” given the nomination.
Life of Pi can also be traced back to News Corp., and has also received an Oscar nomination for Best Picture. The film had a budget of $120 million, double Lincoln‘s, but has also grossed nearly $400 million worldwide so far, helped along by its availability in 3D, which demands a premium on ticket prices.
Rounding out the good news for Rupert Murdoch’s media empire is Beasts of the Southern Wild, a fantasy-drama film about a flood in the Louisiana bayou, nominated for four Oscars and, despite its indie status, pulling in $11.2 million in ticket sales so far. The low-budget, under-the-radar film could get a huge boost from the nomination, especially from its lead actress, Quvenzhané Wallis, who at nine years old is the youngest actress to be nominated in the Actress in a Leading Role category. That should certainly stir up some attention.