Even if “Bohemian Rhapsody” doesn’t win Best Picture at the Oscars on February 24, it is already the biggest winner among the eight nominees in terms of profitability based on production budgets. This biopic of Freddie Mercury, the frontman for Queen, cost $50 million to make and it has taken in a whopping $850 million worldwide.
Subtracting the production cost from the gross, and then dividing the remainder by that same production cost, yields a very rough estimate of the return on investment (ROI) or profit. The studio costs don’t account for every dollar spent as they don’t include marketing and Oscar campaigns while only about half of the takings end up back in the hands of the distributors. In the case of “Bohemian Rhapsody,” the math works out as follows: $850 million gross – $50 million production cost = $800 million, which is then divided by that same $50 million production cost for a ROI with a factor of 16 or 1,600%
No other Best Picture contender comes close to matching that gross-to-cost ratio. Of the other seven nominees, “Black Panther” has made the most money, with a global box office haul of just under $1.35 billion. However, it cost in excess of $200 million to make, giving it a ROI of 5.75 (or 575%).
Two other films in the running for the top Academy Award have cracked the $100 million mark at the box office. “A Star is Born” cost $40 million to produce and has earned $420 million to date for an ROI of 9.5 (950%) while “Green Book” had a budget of $23 million and takings to date of $109 million for an ROI of 3.75 (375%).
“BlacKkKlansman” was filmed for $15 million and has grossed just under $90 million (ROI: 5.00 or 500%) while “The Favourite” was also put together for $15 million and has receipts of $71 million and counting (ROI: 3.75 or 375%).
The other two Best Picture nominees cost more to make than they have made: “Vice” is thought to have production costs of $60 million and has box office receipts of just under $57 million. And “Roma,” which cost $15 million to produce, had a limited theatrical release before streaming on Netflix and earned just under $4 million.
Be sure to check out how our experts rank this year’s Oscar contenders. Then take a look at the most up-to-date combined odds before you make your own 2019 Oscar predictions. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until just before winners are announced on February 24.