Oscar box office report: ‘Carol’ opens strong; ‘Spotlight,’ ‘Brooklyn’ expanding well

Buoyed by stellar reviews, "Carol" packed them in at four locations in New York and Los Angeles taking in $246K for the third-best per screen average of the year at $62K. By comparison, "Steve Jobs" did more than double that in week one at $130K per while "Sicario" averaged $67K. Unlike both those pictures, the Weinstein Company is planning a slow platform release for this Oscar contender. It won't expand at all till mid-December before going wide after Oscar nominations are announced in mid-January. 

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Our leading contender for Best Picture "Spotlight" made $3.4 million in its third outing as it jumped from 60 to 598 screens and went nationwide. That haul of just under $6K per screen was good enough for eighth place on the overall box office chart. Rave reviews boosted interest in this docudrama that details the work by the Boston Globe to expose the coverup by the local Catholic diocese of pedophile priests and its cumulative take is now up to $5.7 million as awards season heats up. That is a full million ahead of where last year's Best Picture champ "Birdman" was after 17 days in theaters. 

Brooklyn" raked in $1.15 million at 111 theaters nationwide (PSA: $10,300) in its third week, which puts it in 12th place on the box office chart. Fox Searchlight is doing well with its gradual platform of this period charmer that stars Saoirse Ronan, a strong Best Actress contender, as an Irish emigrant to America in the early 1950s. 

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The third weekend tally for “Trumbo” was $252K across 47 screens for a per screen average of $5,300. Bleecker Street is planning a slow platform release for this film starring Emmy and Tony champ Bryan Cranston as blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo

Among other holdovers, the Focus Features release “Suffragette” went even wider — jumping from 496 to 517 locations — in its fourth week and made half a million with an average of just under $1K per screen. This historical drama about the fight for the vote by British women has made $3.54 million stateside. 

Room” grossed $380K in 160 locations (up from 133) for a PSA of $2.4 in week six. This A24 release has racked up just under $2.9 million to date.

Among those titles in general release, Sony continues to score with "Spectre," which made a respectable $14.3 million in week three, which was good enough for second place overall. Fox did well again with animated feature "The Peanuts Movie," which was in third as it added another $12.6 million in its third week for a cumulative gross of $98.6 million (remember, many of those admissions were at reduced kiddie prices). And the studio saw  "The Martian" land in seventh by adding an impressive $3.6 million in its eighth frame for a total tally of $213 million and counting. 

Click here to see ups and downs of Oscar races over entire awards season

Steven Spielberg's "Bridge of Spies" did well enough in its sixth week to come in at 10th on the chart, adding another $1.9 million to its haul which now totals $65.1 million. 

"Steve Jobs" made $81K at 126 locations and its total after seven weeks is $17.6 million. Expect Universal to re-release this Danny Boyle's biopic of Apple's patron saint when it does well with awards nominations and wins (see below). 

As of this writing, 21 of our 22 Oscar experts (journalists who cover this beat for major media including Variety, Yahoo, USA Today, and Huffington Post) are predicting that "Spotlight" and "Room" will reap Best Picture bids. Twenty are doing the same for "Bridge of Spies" and "The Martian," 19 for "Steve Jobs," and 15 for "Brooklyn."  

Among the performers in these pictures, "Room" breakout star Brie Larson sit atops the Best Actress chart while "Steve Jobs" player Michael Fassbender was just supplanted by Leonardo DiCaprio in the still-unseen "The Revenant" for Best Actor.

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Last year, our Top 24 Users led the way with an accuracy rate of 76.67% when it came to predicting the Oscar nominations. Next up were Gold Derby's Editors with 74.44%, followed by the Experts with 71.11% and all Users with 68.09%. (Click on any of these groups to see what they got right and wrong last year.)

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As some of our Users turn out to be our smartest prognosticators, it's important that you give us your predictions. Your picks influence our Users racetrack odds, which also factor into our official combined odds.

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Photos (l-r): "Carol," "Spotlight," "Brooklyn." Credits: Moviestore/REX

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