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Box Office Prospects for the Foreign Language Oscar Contenders

Box Office
by Anne Thompson and Tom Brueggemann
January 18, 2014 1:03 PM
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Tribeca "The Broken Circle Breakdown"

For the final five for the Foreign Language Oscar, being in the public eye and getting attention is critical this year more than ever. For the first time, the Academy will send screeners of the final five to all voting members. In the past, only those who actually signed in to L.A. and N.Y. screenings and saw all five of the nominees were allowed to vote. That means that now, as in other categories, voters will be on an honor system. Most likely though they will vote for films they have already seen. And being on-screen, advertised and current will lend the final nominees prominence during the voting period. (Watch the Golden Globes foreign directors panel livestream here.)

Mads Mikkelsen in 'The Hunt'

Here are the five foreign contenders' box office standings so far: 

  • Thomas Vintenberg's "The Hunt" (Denmark), starring Cannes Best Actor-winner Mads Mikkelsen, took in $613,000 after its July release for Magnolia. That number should be surpassed shortly by "The Great Beauty" (Italy), with $133,000 last week alone. Both "The Grandmaster" and "The Hunt" are available already on DVD in the U.S.

  • Paolo Sorrentino's "The Great Beauty" (Italy) has been a surprise success so far for Janus, its first release of a recent film in two years. This multiple award-winner at the European Film Awards (best film, actor and screenplay) is the only one getting much play at the moment, with $1.1 million grossed so far and likely to see an immediate boost. 

  • Hany Abu-Assad's "Omar" (Palestinian Territories) distributor Adopt Films is considering trying to open the film on or around Feb. 21. 
  • Felix van Groeningen's "The Broken Circle Breakdown" (Belgium), which was the leading nominee for the European Film Awards --and won Best Actress --has only grossed $107,622 since Tribeca Films opened it in November, despite having significant festival and other international attention. This is considered a strong contender to win the award, so it could be a candidate for significantly more play.

  • Rithy Panh's "The Missing Picture" (Cambodia), well-received on the festival circuit, was released by Strand in Los Angeles in a single outlying run for qualification for the Best Documentary category, with the gross unreported (normal for this sort of one-week play). Its real release will come in March, when it opens at New York's Film Forum and then shortly after in Los Angeles at the Royal and other theaters before reaching the rest of the country.
Tony Servillo in "The Great Beauty."


  • Anne Thompson | December 23, 2013 1:16 PMReply

    The current sense I get is given the likely Top Six (Broken Circle Breakdown, Two Lives, The Hunt, Omar, The Notebook and The Great Beauty) the three the committee added were likely Mark Johnson's well-known fave, The Missing Picture, plus the Tanovic and The Grandmaster.

  • Grego | December 23, 2013 12:32 PMReply

    The Grandmaster is not available on DVD in the US. It was set to come out in November, but never did.

  • Tom Brueggemann | December 23, 2013 1:19 PM

    Thx Grego for catching that - I had also seen that is was listed for the November date, but didn't realize that it hadn't come out. It looks like TWC was anticipating a nomination, and may want to re-release the film.

  • Rania | December 23, 2013 7:38 AMReply

    I saw THE NOTEBOOK and it is very, very good but viciously brutal. A great acting turn by Piroska Molnar as the evil grandmother.

  • Julia Chasman | December 22, 2013 6:53 PMReply

    Does anyone know (or have an idea) of which of the nine on the shortlist, if any, were added by the executive committee? Isn't that how it works now -- the general jury members choose 5 0r 6, and then the rest are added by the committee by their discretion?

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