It's the same reason The Blind Side outstripped Invictus and Crazy Heart pushed ahead of a pack of other small Oscar wannabes.
When I heard at Cannes that Apparition's Bob Berney was planning a late September Bright Star release, I wondered, "Is it too early?" The risk: if a movie doesn't take off and hang on to screens, it loses luster. Bright Star was impeccably-reviewed, but topped out in November at $4.3 million. And year-end critics groups ignored it. Why? It just never took off.
Meanwhile, Apparition's more modest crowd-pleaser The Young Victoria opened well December 18 (with less stellar reviews), nabbed a Golden Globe nom for Emily Blunt and three Oscar nominations. It's possible that if Sandra Bullock and The Blind Side hadn't wowed Academy voters, Blunt might have slipped into a best actress nod. In three more weeks, Young Victoria should pass $10 million.