“Birdman” won’t see the box office bump that would normally come with being named Best Picture and having director Alejandro Inarritu win as well at the Academy Awards Sunday night.
The quirky tale starring Michael Keaton as an aging superhero actor came out on DVD last week, and has already had what amounts to two separate theatrical runs, one when it opened in October and another after the Oscar nominations in January. But on Sunday night, none of that mattered.
“We’re looking to add theaters tomorrow!” crowed Frank Rodriguez, head of distribution at Fox Searchlight, the specialty arm of Twentieth Century Fox. That he was excited isn’t surprising, after “Birdman” claimed four Oscars and so did “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” another Searchlight movie.
After a platform release that began in October and peaked at the end of November, “Birdman” had taken in $26.6 million. And after it was nominated for nine Academy Awards on Jan. 15, Searchlight rolled it out again.
It peaked in 976 theaters and has taken in $11.1 million since then for a $37.7 million domestic total. Its best weekend was Nov. 14-16, when it took in $2.4 million and made the first of four appearances in the top ten.
“Birdman,” which cost $18 million to make, has also grossed $39 million overseas, giving it a worldwide total of $77 million. It has yet to play in a number of foreign markets, so there is potential there, although ramping up a second time is trickier abroad.
Another theatrical run for “Birdman” could amount to just a victory lap, as it did for “Grand Budapest,” which was rolled out in a limited release after the Oscar nominations. Or its four Academy Awards could translate and “Birdman” will do some business.
On Sunday night, either was fine with the Fox Searchlight camp.