The box office domination of “American Sniper” reached new heights this weekend as it skyrocketed past last year’s top-grossing Oscar nominee “Gravity.” In terms of its domestic gross, the Bradley Cooper war drama is now at $282 million and counting, compared to the final “Gravity” total of $274 million, according to Box Office Mojo.
That haul is especially impressive when the estimated production budgets of these two Oscars blockbusters are factored in. “American Sniper” cost about $58 million to produce, while “Gravity” had a whopping $100 million budget. Will “American Sniper’s” box office green lead to Oscars gold?
Let’s consider recent years:
Last year, “Gravity” was the top earner amongst the Best Picture nominees, but “12 Years a Slave” ($56 million) claimed Oscars victory despite only ranking fifth in terms of its domestic box office.
In 2012, “Lincoln” ($182 million) was the highest-grossing nominee, but fourth-place “Argo” ($136 million) won Best Picture.
In 2011, “The Help” ($169 million) topped the box office for all Best Picture contenders, but seventh-place “The Artist” ($44 million) won the statue.
In 2010, “Toy Story 3” ($415 million) dominated theaters, but couldn’t stop fourth-place “The King’s Speech” ($135 million) from winning the top prize.
In 2009, box office champ “Avatar” ($749 million) lost its Best Picture battle with eighth-place “The Hurt Locker” ($17) in a true David-vs.-Goliath smackdown.
Academy voters look for a lot of things when they cast their votes for Best Picture, but box office earnings apparently aren’t one of them.
You have to go all the way back to 2008 to find a Best Picture winner that also had the highest domestic gross: “Slumdog Millionaire” ($141 million). However, this was back when there were still only five nominees in the race. The number of nominees was increased from five to 10 the following year to allow more blockbusters, like snubbed “The Dark Knight,” into the Oscars race.
“American Sniper” contends in six categories at the Oscars: Best Picture, Best Actor (Cooper), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Editing, Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing. Even if it sweeps, it has no way of overtaking “Gravity’s” Oscar haul, as that space epic won a total of seven trophies last year: Best Director (Alfonso Cuaron), Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Score, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing and Best Visual Effects.
Here’s how all eight of this year’s Best Picture nominees are currently faring at the domestic box office:
1.) “American Sniper” – $282 million
2.) “The Imitation Game” – $74 million
3.) “The Grand Budapest Hotel” – $59 million
4.) “Selma” – $46 million
5.) “Birdman” – $35 million
6.) “The Theory of Everything” – $32 million
7.) “Boyhood” – $25 million
8.) “Whiplash” – $9 million
Make your Oscars picks now — click here — or scroll down to predict the Best Picture winner using our easy drag-and-drop menu. Best predictions will win $1,000 prize. And the 24 Users with the best scores advance to a team to compete against our Experts and Editors next year. See who’s in our current Top 24 and their early Oscar predictions. Meet the guy who won our contest to predict Oscar nominations this year — and learn how he did it and how you can be our next Gold Derby superstar. Register/log in to your account so you can also compete to predict the Gold Derby Awards, “The Walking Dead,” “Celebrity Apprentice” and more.