“The Artist” and “The Descendants” — both nominated for best picture Oscars — each cross box office milestones
"The Descendants" took an estimated $2.9 million over the weekend — just enough to hoist the movie above the $75 million mark.
The picture, in its 14th week of release, is now the fourth-highest grossing Fox Searchlight release of all time — behind the 2007 "Juno," which grossed $143.5 million; the 2008 "Slumdog Millionaire," which took $141.3 million and the 2010 "Black Swan," which grossed $107 million. The 2004 "Sideways" — also from director Alexander Payne — grossed $71.5 million.
"As we get closer to the Academy Awards, the audience is still embracing the movie," Sheila DeLoach, Fox Searchlight's executive VP distribution, told TheWrap.
She noted that the R-rated film starring George Clooney is playing in more theaters — 1,243 — than any of the other movies nominated for best picture Oscars.
That's about to change: "The Artist," which grossed $2.3 million over the weekend — it hit the $25 million mark Feb. 16 — continues to expand.
Right now, the silent, black-and-white film is at 808 locations, but The Weinstein Company is prepared to substantially increase that number — and with it, the movie's bottom line.
The PG-13 movie now in its 13th week of release has grossed $27.4 million domestically and $61.3 million worldwide.
"It continues to play to very solid numbers and now looks like it's on its way to $100 million worldwide," Erik Lomis, The Weinstein Company's distribution chief, told TheWrap Sunday morning.
He said the movie will probably be in around 1,200 locations during the next week.
The other two best picture nominees still in movie theaters are studio films: Warner's "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close" is at 577 locations, and FilmDistrict/Paramount's "Hugo," is at 558.