Which Studios Will Benefit from the Oscar Nominations this Year?
Now that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced the nominees for the 2013 Oscars, it is time to grab a bowl of popcorn, settle back, and watch…the stocks. That is to say, the ones most closely related to the nominees.
Among the nine best-picture nominees, only three are products of the studio system.
They are Les Miserables, from Comcast's (NASDAQ: CMCSA) Universal Pictures; Life of Pi, from News Corp's (NASDAQ: NWS) Twentieth Century Fox; and Lincoln, from DreamWorks Studios, distributed internationally by Fox and domestically by Walt Disney (NYSE: DIS).
Of the other nominees, some were produced and distributed by smaller studios, such as Django Unchained, from the privately owned Weinstein Co. Beasts of the Southern Wild was made independently and distributed by Fox's Searchlight Pictures. Major studios distributed independently produced Zero Dark Thirty and Argo. Sony Corp's (NYSE: SNE) Sony Pictures distributed Zero Dark Thirty and Time Warner's (NYSE: TWX) Warner Bros. released Argo.
In addition, while major studios may have found middling success in the best-picture category, one studio, Walt Disney, scored a major victory in animation. Earning three of the five spots in the animated-feature category, Disney picked up nominations for Brave, from Pixar Animation Studios, as well as for Disney-branded films Frankenweenie and Wreck-It Ralph.
News Corp's 20th Century Fox led the Oscars race with 31 nominations, including best picture nods for both Lincoln and Life of Pi, setting the stage for the box office bounces that selected films often get.
Sony Pictures Entertainment was second with 24 nominations, including Zero Dark Thirty, Skyfall and Amour, with five nominations each.
"For the right film at the right time, Oscar nominations and most importantly a best picture nomination can do wonders for a nominated film's cachet, profile and 'must see' factor," Paul Dergarabedian, president of the box office division of Hollywood.com, told Reuters.
Zero Dark Thirty, a gritty film distributed by Sony about the killing of Osama bin Laden by U.S. Navy SEALs, will be expanded from 60 to about 2,400 theaters Friday, said Dergarabedian. The film collected five nominations, including best picture and best screenplay.
Adam Fogelson, chairman of Universal, a unit of Comcast and distributor of best film nominee Les Miserables, said marketing for the movie was designed, from the start, to take advantage of awards season.
The 85th annual Academy Awards will be held on February 24. Between now and then, investors will monitor box office receipts as studios jostle to take advantage of that Oscar nomination bump before Hollywood's biggest night.
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