'Django' is Tarantino's biggest hit and 'Lincoln' crosses $150 mil as Best Picture nominees storm the box office this year

Posted by · 10:06 am · January 13th, 2013

Kudos to The Weinstein Company this year for finding a fortunate release strategy in “Silver Linings Playbook” after bungling the release of “The Master” in September. It looks like it’s going to work out. But I imagine most over there are happy as of late that “Django Unchained” is hitting as big as it is. Indeed, they needed this.

Not only that, but with this weekend’s $11 million take, the film has become Quentin Tarantino’s highest-grossing film to date. “Django” crossed the $125 million mark this weekend, besting the $120 million total “Inglourious Basterds” brought in 2009. It was down about 40% from last weekend with very little change in screen count and will likely percolate for a while longer.

Meanwhile, this is all part and parcel of the story of the year: Best Picture nominees have been box office hogs.

“Lincoln” is currently on top with its nothing-short-of-miraculous $150 million take. It added another $6 million this weekend after extremely small drops from week-to-week (and one huge jump in box office after it lost over 300 screens around the holidays, which is amazing). It shows no signs of slowing and that’s a huge talking point for its angle on the Best Picture win, to say the least. Oh, and it hasn’t even rolled out overseas yet.

Next in line is “Django” with its $125 million before we come to “Les Misérables,” which was primed to be a money-maker given built-in brand appeal. Bringing in $10 million more this weekend, it’s up to $119 million so far. And “Argo,” which added 300 more screens after Thursday’s Oscar nominations announcement, is still hanging out. It brought in a million more this weekend bringing it up to $111 million to date.

That’s four $100 million-grossers before the nominations even came out. And that’s just sensational, particularly given the fact that two of them are adult dramas.

But don’t snooze on Ang Lee’s “Life of Pi,” which is sure to cross the $100 million domestic mark sooner or later. It added another $2 million to the tank this weekend, bringing it up to $94 million. But it actually has the biggest wallet of all Best Picture players as it’s been a monster hit internationally. It’s closing in on $500 million worldwide. I imagine that makes Tom Rothman smile, all things considered.

Where will “Zero Dark Thirty” and “Silver Linings Playbook” tap out? Could they bring the ultimate tally to seven $100 million-grossing Best Picture nominees? (“Amour” and “Beasts of the Southern Wild” are obviously limited by what they are, which is nothing to be ashamed of.)

And “Flight” should really be noted here, too, as its $92 million is a major success for a mid-budget drama and the Best Original Screenplay nominee is highly respected as a result.

All of this is the story of the season. And it’s a nice change of pace.

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