Oscars 2015: How best picture nominees rank at the box office

Actor Chris Pine and Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs announce the best picture Oscar nominations Jan. 15 in Beverly Hills. Judge the nominees by their box office performance, and "American Sniper" is the clear winner, with "The Imitation Game" a distant second.
Actor Chris Pine and Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs announce the best picture Oscar nominations Jan. 15 in Beverly Hills. Judge the nominees by their box office performance, and “American Sniper” is the clear winner, with “The Imitation Game” a distant second.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

The Academy Awards are next week, and two of the eight best picture nominees still hold spots in the top 10 at the box office: “American Sniper” and “The Imitation Game.”

“The Grand Budapest Hotel” made its debut in March, far earlier than the limited release of “American Sniper” on Christmas Day. But the other nominated films largely failed to attract wide audiences in 2014, which was a lackluster year at the box office.

In 2013, Oscar-nominated films “The Wolf of Wall Street” ($116.9 million), “Captain Phillips” ($107.1 million), “Gravity” ($274 million) and “American Hustle” ($150.1 million) — all released between October through December -- racked up big numbers at the box office.

FULL COVERAGE: Oscars 2015


This year, however, “American Sniper” is the only best picture nominee to cross $100 million.

Clint Eastwood’s war drama, which cost Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow about $58 million to make, is adapted from the Chris Kyle autobiography of the same name. It follows the story of Kyle (Bradley Cooper), a Navy SEAL known as the most lethal sniper in American history.

The film, nominated for six Oscars, has pulled in about $304.1 million in the U.S. and Canada. It surpassed Warner Bros. initial tracking expectations and shattered records when it went to wide release in January.

By comparison, “Fifty Shades of Grey” made more in its debut this weekend than Oscar-nominated films “Whiplash,” “Boyhood” and “The Theory of Everything” combined.

This year the art house films, many distributed by specialty divisions of major studios, received the most Oscar recognition.

PHOTOS: Oscars 2015 top nominees | Presenters | Nominee reactions | Awkward moments

Of the best picture nominees, “The Imitation Game” has the second-highest gross. It has made an estimated $79.7 million in the U.S. and Canada since its launch Nov. 28.

The World War II drama, released by The Weinstein Co., stars Benedict Cumberbatch as the genius mathematician Alan Turing. Last weekend the film was No. 8 on the charts.


Wes Anderson’s “The Grand Budapest Hotel” is third-highest-grossing best picture nominee, with $59.1 million. The film, released by Fox Searchlight, almost immediately proved its box office might: In its first week, the film brought in $800,000 on just four theaters.

After the Oscar nominations, Fox Searchlight briefly reopened the film in select theaters.

“Selma,” widely perceived as being largely snubbed in the Oscars nominations, has a domestic haul of $48.5 million. The Ava DuVernay-directed drama follows the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. (David Oyelowo) in 1965 as he organizes and leads a march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala.

“Birdman,” released by Fox Searchlight, has made about $46.5 million. Director Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s film follows Riggan Thomson (Michael Keaton), a washed-up actor hoping to make a comeback in theater.


OSCARS 2015: Complete list | Ballot | Cheat Sheet | Top nominees | Presenters | Timeline

“The Theory of Everything” follows “Birdman” with $33.2 million. The Focus Features film is based on Jane Hawking’s memoir, “Travelling to Infinity: My Life With Stephen.” It stars Eddie Redmayne as Stephen Hawking and Felicity Jones as Hawking’s first wife, Jane.

Richard Linklater’s “Boyhood,” which co-stars Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette, has made about $25 million since July.

“Whiplash” is at the bottom of the box office rankings for best picture nominees. The film, released by Sony Pictures Classics, is about a young drummer (Miles Teller) waging psychological warfare with a sadistic music teacher (J.K. Simmons).


Though Simmons has won awards for his role (including the Golden Globe), the film hasn’t been widely seen. It has made $10.4 million since its October release.

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