Best of both worlds
Some outstanding movies shown in 2013 have given filmmakers much-needed hope, because they have belied the notorious notion that good films are poison at the box office. Based on their grosses to date, they have ended up among the hottest hits of the season, proving that some gifted artists of the cinema also have their fingers on the pulse of the viewing public—so, they end up getting it all!
Now, if only more filmmaking artists could also make their work not just beautiful, powerful and insightful, but also emotionally relevant to the mass film audience…
Topping the list of “quality” hits in 2013 is Alfonso Cuaron’s “Gravity,” with a gross to date of $256 million. Since $100 million is the minimum a film needs to earn to be regarded as a hit, “Gravity” has more than double the “K” to make that signal cinematic boast!
Next, “Captain Phillips” has grossed $105 million, and counting, so it has something to crow about, as well. The even more recent release, “American Hustle,” has already made $103 million this early, so it should end up making much more.
Coming up fast in the box-office derby is “The Wolf of Wall Street,” with $80 million already grossed since its release just last Dec. 25. It’s a safe bet to presume that it’ll end up as one of the bigger hits of the season, particularly if it wins awards this March at the coming Oscars, where it has five nominations.
That’s the most heartening aspect to our “quality hits” list: All four of them aren’t just popular films but also Oscar nominees! It’s been proven that, if a film wins Oscars, its box-office showing improves considerably, so greater profits await these potential winners.
Top of our list
“Gravity” leads our list in this regard with 10 nods, followed by “American Hustle” also with 10, “Captain Phillips” with six, and “Wolf” with five.
Whichever production ends up winning Best Picture and the other major awards up for grabs, the point is that these four movies have beaten the odds and made quality popular this season—an important improvement over past years, when it was (wrongly) believed that movies had to be “dumbed down” to attract the mass film audience, and that artistic cinema was fated to lay a big, fat and fatuous egg at the box office.
We trust that other film producers and directors take heart at this upbeat development, and strive to also enjoy the best of both worlds— artistic excellence and popular support.
The Oscar bets we’ve cited prove that it can be done, if the filmmaker makes his art empathetic with the general audience, or at least a significant part of it.
Granted, this isn’t easy to do, but the makers of “American Hustle,” “Gravity,” “The Wolf of Wall Street” and “Captain Phillips” have learned their lessons well, and other filmmakers who carefully analyze their latest, Oscar-nominated products can similarly enjoy—the best of both worlds!